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Tag Archives: Sentinel
Steam Railways in Preservation in the 1980s-90s
August 26th – September 2nd 1988
Stockton & Darlington Railway journeys possible
On Sundays, until 2nd October, it is possible to ride on multiple unit trains along a freight-only section of the former Stockton & Darlington Railway.
Two return trips are being operated on those days from Bishop Aukland to Stanhope, which is only three miles short of the existing railhead at Eastgate. The trains depart at 9.26 and 1626 and return from Stanhope at 10.15 and 17.20, with all services running from/to Darlington.
The Weardale line is picturesque and full of interest for railway enthusiasts, with the present trains traversing sections of the railway opened in 1843, 1847 and 1862.
The fare is a bargain and the service will possibly operate in future years if sufficient numbers travel before the service ceases on 2nd October.
‘Scarborough Spa Express’ season gets under way.
On Sunday 14th August the steam hauled excursion trains between York and Scarborough commenced their short season of operations, with locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley in charge.
Last Sunday, 21st August, the train was hauled by Bulleid West Country Pacific No.34092 ‘City of Wells’ and the locomotive scheduled to power the train on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August, was GWR 4-4-0 ‘City of Truro’, but No.92220 will probably be used in lieu.
One hundred and fifty years after the arrival of the railway to Wolverton, the anniversary is to be celebrated with the largest festival that the town has ever seen. Local residents and businessmen who are arranging the Wolverton 150 Festival, which will take place next month, are hoping the event will give a new lease of life to the town, which is now part of the new City of Milton Keynes.
Planned to coincide with the anniversary of the operation of the first passenger train to pass through the town on its journey from London to Birmingham, Wolverton 150 will celebrate the heyday years when the population was booming, alongside the busy LNWR and LMS carriage works.
Though the recent history of Wolverton Works has seen contraction, British Rail is taking a leading role in the festival which will commence with the operation of a special train carrying celebrities from Euston to Wolverton on September 17th.
Highlights during the two-week event will include a locomotion exhibition, vintage road vehicles, music, drama, a bazaar and a firework display. Behind the bunting, festival organisers are trusting that the event will give back the community spirit to Wolverton which was enjoyed during the years when every family knew someone who was employed at the works.
The first Lantern Parade was held in 1988 as part of the Wolverton 150 Festival that celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding of Wolverton as a railway town. It has been held as an annual festival in December ever since. The Festival takes the form of a street parade with a samba band. Many smaller lanterns are candle lit but the larger lanterns, now tend to use LED lighting.
264 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Spring 2003 Part 3 – General Manager’s Report
264 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Spring 2003
260 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Autumn & Winter 2002 Part 6 – Loco Shed
260 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Autumn & Winter 2002
245 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Summer & Autumn 2001 5 – Loco Shed News
245 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Summer & Autumn 2001. 5 –
Loco Shed News
242 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Summer& Autumn 2001 From the Board Room
242 – ChasewaterRailwayMuseum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Summer& Autumn 2001
From the Board Room
207 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Autumn 1997– Part 3 The Sentinel
207 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News – Autumn 1997– Part 3 The Sentinel
Sentinel was built in 1957 by Sentinel of Shrewsbury with the works number of 9632. It was bought by the West Midlands Gas Board for use at Pleck Gas Works, Walsall and was the last steam loco of the upright boiler design built by the Sentinel Company. Upon arrival at Chasewater the 4wVBT was assigned the number 5 and has been in regular operation ever since.
Sentinel 9632 at Chasewater
The concept of the Sentinel shunting loc was nominally quite clever in that it allowed a loco of relatively low horsepower and size to produce a useful tractive effort and shunt relatively heavy trains, albeit at the expense of a reduced maximum speed. This is, of course, also true for industrial diesel shunters where shunting speeds much above 10 or 15 mph are unnecessary as well as undesirable from the safety point of view. Problems arise, however, when you try to reverse the role and run light trains at relatively high speeds as we do at Chasewater. It is not difficult to imagine a rail-connected industrial concern a few years ago owning a Sentinel and a Hawthorn Leslie similar to ‘Asbestos’ and using both locos to do similar work. However, if opened up, ‘Asbestos’ can produce several hundred horsepower and a maximum speed far in excess of its road holding capacity. Consequently, on the causeway bank, ‘Asbestos’ will out-perform either of the diesels or the Sentinel, which is always likely to struggle due to its relatively low power to train weight ratio and low maximum speed, which prevents a decent run being taken at the bank.
When 9632 arrived at Chasewater in 1982 we set about getting it into good working order. The big worry then was whether or not it would be capable of operating passenger trains reliably. Eventually we proved that it was, although at that time it was only a matter of moving a single coach back and forth between Brownhills West and the bridge at Willow Vale.
Over the years various modifications were carried out to try and improve the performance of this ‘one man operated’ shunter attempting to run passenger trains. This culminated in the reliable running of two coach trains to a point about half-way between Willow Vale and the bottom of the causeway bank.
When the loco came out of service at the end of 1995 for its major boiler examination, it was decided to further improve running performance. These are a few of the modifications carried out to achieve that. One of the main problems has always been the very limited boiler capacity. Timing the boiler being filled from the loco shed hose pipe shows that there is less than 10 gallons difference between ‘bottom’ and ‘top’ of the gauge glass. Combine this with the fact that on shutting the regulator when the engine is working hard the level drops by half a glass, or when the safety valves pop you lose half a glass, and a notice in the cab warning ‘IMPORTANT: Water level should never be higher than half glass’ things are never going to be easy. Originally the loco had the controls for the injector and the Weir pump on the driver’s side, leaving the fireman with nothing to do but shovel coal occasionally, and the driver with the headache of maintaining boiler level in addition to driving. Both of these controls have now been re-positioned on the fireman’s side, and the Weir pump itself turned sideways to make a bit more room in the cab and give better access for draining it in the winter. The lubricator sight glass tube has been filled with anti-freeze mix rather than just water so it can survive the winter without attention. The Weir pump itself is always very messy with excess oil, probably because it always gets a double dose, on from the engine lubricator and again from its own lubricator. This may have to be rectified at a later date, but in the meantime at least it won’t go rusty!
For a long time the pump has been blowing live steam through to exhaust due to bad corrosion of the valve spool. This is a weird |Weir arrangement, which looks like a cross between a slide valve and a piston valve enabling the piston to move up and down without any rotating parts being required.
The cast iron spool had to be built up with weld, the intricate pattern of ports ground and filed back to shape, and then the complete spool ground back to the correct diameter. The result is still not perfect but the pump is now a lot quieter in operation and starts more reliably.
The loco was designed to use superheated steam for the blower, but because the engine lubricator feeds oil 9in immediately after the superheater, all superheated steam has oil in it, which promptly burned to form carbon, blocking the blower jets every few months. This has now been re-piped to use saturated steam, and new stainless steel blower rings have been fitted with finer jets making the blower more effective on low pressure during lighting up. The control valve has also been moved to the fireman’s side of the cab.
The vacuum brake system, which was fitted at Chasewater, has gradually evolved over the years, the latest mod being to supply the ejector with superheat steam. Previously, when using saturated steam from the top of the boiler, any rough bit of track combined with slightly high water level could spill water into the system temporarily destroying release pipe vacuum and partially applying the brake. Using superheat steam avoids this problem but may possibly erode the pipework or ejector nozzle over a period of time, as well as rob the engine of some of its lubrication.
A new superheater coil was fitted in 1982 and worked without problem for the first five years, but later, small bits of rust about the size of coffee granules started to be thrown up out of the superheater, jamming the regulator open and damaging its seating faces. To cure this, a perforated stainless steel baffle has been made and fitted in the regulator housing so that any debris now piles up behind it and can be cleaned out occasionally when convenient.
During the recent boiler examination one of the boiler tubes was found to be leaking through a pinhole during the hydraulic test. This meant that the boiler, which had just been re-assembled, had to be split again and a new set of plain tubes fitted. At least the tubes are relatively short, and there are only fourteen of them, so they are cheap to buy and will fit in the boot of a car. The extra work was completed in a couple of weekends and the boiler subsequently passed its hydraulic and steam tests.
When, in 1996, the loco was eventually tried out on a passenger train to Norton Lakeside the result was fairly disastrous. With two DMU power cars making a trailing load of around 75 tons, 9632 struggled to move at all, let alone climb the causeway bank. Upon eventually reaching Norton it was found that the loco would hardly make steam even when standing due to the poor coal. The round trip took an hour and a half, forcing the decision on whether to change the coal merchant, or fit a corridor bunker to allow crew changing at the half-way point on the journey! The coal was subsequently returned to the supplier!
Two further trips were made on that day, but the third ended in total disaster. One of the tappet adjusters had worked loose and out of adjustment causing the engine to run on one and a half cylinders, making it snatch a bit. On the climb back up to Brownhills West one side of the duplex drive chain from the engine to the front axle broke, the loose bit climbed over the sprocket, jammed, and almost ripped one of the gearboxes out of the frames, shearing its mounting lug with a loud bang. The loco was a total failure and had to be removed to the shed where it remained for the rest of the year whilst repairs were effected. This involved building up the damaged sprocket teeth with weld and filing back to the correct profile, purchasing an 18 inch length of new chain and modifying it to fit, and drilling and grinding away the back of the front buffer beam so that a new gearbox mounting lug could be fitted in its place.
In 1997 the loco again passed its boiler test and was subsequently tried out on trains. The first test was to shunt around 180 tons of assorted wagons and dead engines up out of the shed road, which it did fairly effortlessly and without the chain breaking. Next it piloted an ailing DL7 and a single coach on a couple of passenger trains to Norton and back, then spent the rest of the day working trains on its own. Since then it has successfully run two-coach trains to the normal 45 minute schedule and appears to be quite happy, although speed at the top of the causeway bank is little more than a fast walk.
As expected, the main problem is control of the boiler. With a good hot fire it is quite capable of producing more steam than the cylinders can cope with, but if you have to stop unexpectedly, as is the case when the local toe-rags have been bust piling things up on the line, all hell lets loose from the safety valves within seconds of shutting the regulator. Even during planned stops this can be a problem as both our stations are approached up steepish banks requiring near full pressure right up to the last minute. The surprising thing is that the latest batch of coal, which produces enormous amounts of clinker, blocking the grate to the extent that the fire looks completely black from underneath, still produces enough heat to run trains all day without any fire cleaning. At the end of the day hardly any ash has made it into the ashpan, and when the grate is dropped the fire remains in position without visible means of support until it is hacked out with the fire iron.
On diesel days the loco is being gradually repainted in gasworks red livery, but as this involves a couple of hours each time just to clean and de-grease it after the previous steaming, progress is slow. A number of modifications and repairs are still planned, but now the loco is back in regular service it is likely to be some while before they are carried out.
168 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From The Board Room – David Bathurst, Acting Chairman.
With so many initiatives being worked-up on the railway at the present time, the Board is finding itself with an ever-increasing agenda. Indeed, the Board Meeting held on 20th December failed to complete its business and had to be adjourned.
To enable members to be aware of the work being done on behalf of the Company, it is hoped to publish from time to time a brief resumé of matters currently under consideration by the Board.
This short note is not intended to cover all details of the Board’s business, but I trust it will be of interest to members.
1. Following damage to the park which occurred during the movement of rolling stock, which resulted in considerable correspondence from the Council, it has been agreed that all such movements must in future be cleared with the general manager, and the crossing of grassed areas under the Council’s jurisdiction will not be permitted.
2. A framework for crew training is to be considered in conjunction with the Roster Clerk, so as to maximise the potential of prospective crew members. This will include both steam and diesel traction.
3. The rostering of trainee firemen under the supervision of a passed fireman will be discontinued. Trainee firemen will in the future act under the direct supervision of the driver.
4. Only drivers and passed firemen acting under the supervision of the driver shall be permitted to drive steam locomotives while hauling passenger trains.
5. In view of steam locomotive footplate constraints, only rostered crew and other authorised persons (including official guests) shall be permitted to ride on the footplate.
6. The Board has agreed to the disposal of the crane, in view of its limited use by the CLR and the liabilities associated with it. The availability of the crane, by way of sale, is to be advertised in the railway press.
7. Paul Richards is to assume responsibility as Membership Officer as successor to Adrian Hall. The date for transfer of membership details has yet to be agreed, being dependent on the setting up of suitable computer software.
9. In view of the shortage of siding accommodation, any future proposals to introduce further items of rolling stock to the railway will have to be cleared by a sub-committee constituted by the Board.
10. It is considered essential for the CLR to enter into proper agreements with private owners of rolling stock, and perhaps other plant and equipment, which is residing at Chasewater. The introduction of such agreements is intended to provide a clearer relationship between the parties, and to protect the interests of both the CLR and the private owners concerned.
11. Work on the causeway restoration scheme is proceeding rapidly, and should be completed during the spring/early summer. However, it will be necessary to obtain the approval of HMRI before long. Thanks to a donor who wishes to be anonymous, a footbridge has arrived on site on the causeway.The recently installed footbridge at the far end of the causeway. This bridge was located, donated and installed all in the space of a few days. It will provide pedestrian access alongside the existing railway bridge.
12. Consultations are proceeding with Lichfield District Council to secure the land which will be needed in the future to extend the line to Anglesey Wharf, but this may be delayed owing to the uncertainties associated with the line of the Burntwood Western By-pass.
13. Consultations are also proceeding with the Birmingham Northern Relief Road promoters regarding the relocation of Brownhills West Station. Track layouts have been prepared by Regional Railways as a basis for discussion.
14. The disposal to Llangollen of the Wickhams, following asbestos removal, has been confirmed by the Board, subject to suitable arrangements having been made with regard to replacement passenger stock.
142 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces – From Chasewater News December 1991 – Part 1
Editorial – Nigel Canning
On September 3rd this year our hard work finally paid off when Major Olver inspected the railway and gave us permission to run on the extension past Willow Vale. Next year when our newly delivered concrete platform has been built, we could even be running trains to a timetable. A lot of hard work still remains to be done, but by the end of 1992 we could well be running to the causeway. It is now entirely up to us, the more effort we put in, the further we will be able to run trains, so if YOU can help: PLEASE HELP EXTEND THE LINE IN 1992!!
Locomotive News – Including extensive news about Asbestos
No.4 Asbestos – Many members will have been wondering what has happened to Asbestos and why it has not yet been returned to traffic. When the loco last worked (in 1989) it was suffering from a number of ailments, none of which were particularly bad, but all added to make the loco a rather cantankerous old lady. When the boiler became due for inspection it was decided to rectify as many of the faults as possible.
One major worry was the state of the foundation ring rivets at the base of the firebox. A few of these were found to be leaking and needed replacing. Some of the quotes for the repair were alarming. One company quoted £1,500, if we took the boiler to their factory on Leicester. Fortunately we found a boilersmith who was prepared to travel to Chasewater and do the repairs ‘in situ’. This saved a great deal of work lifting the boiler out of the frames. The bottom three rows of tubes were also removed as these were older than the rest and in need of replacement.
With the repairs complete, the boiler was cleaned to allow the inspector to use his ultra-sonic tester to measure the thickness of the boiler plate. One unpleasant surprise was the state of the inner firebox around the fusible plug. The plate was corroded and was only 7mm. thick, very close to the minimum allowed. Nevertheless the inspector pronounced the boiler OK with the proviso that we keep a close eye on the thickness of the plate around the fusible plug.
The next problem was replacing the two dozen boiler tubes. Fortunately the tubes in Asbestos are the same diameter as a Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0, and we happened to know of just such a loco which was undergoing a mayor re-build. The tubes were only a couple of years old, and once cut down to length would be just the job.
Then, suddenly, the CLR finances took one of its periodical downturns and there was no money to spend, even on second-hand tubes. The time was not entirely wasted, as the loco was blanked off ready for its hydraulic test, and the cab fittings were overhauled to make them steam-tight. Even so, many weeks were lost.
The boiler tubes arrived at the end of June, and were then cut to length, cleaned, annealed and expanded into place. The regulator will also receive attention and, hopefully, the loco will pass its hydraulic examination.
The long term future of the loco is somewhat doubtful. The firebox will need further repairs, and although it may be possible to weld a circular boss in the firebox crown relatively cheaply, the loco is still likely to need a full set of tubes costing around £1,500. Will the money be available to pay for the repairs? We shall have to wait and see! – P.Aldridge
No.5 Sentinel – This loco has continued to work all of the passenger trains, and whilst running on the free coal found in the ex Lea Hall mineral wagons is very economical indeed. With the opening of the new track extension, bunker capacity is again becoming critical and may have to be further improved,Ken Judkins poses for the camera with his 200hp Sentinel during a demonstration at Cargo Fleet Steelworks in Middlesborough in the 1950s. The loco on the right is an earlier Sentinel rebuild of a conventional loco.
No.2 Lion – This loco is still awaiting a new set of washout plugs so that it can be hydraulically tested.
S100 – Work has started on moving the boiler from the site now required by the C & W Dept down to the loco shed yard. Now that the hornguide grinding machine has been perfected, work will start on the actual grinding process.
DL7 – This loco has stood with one of its cylinder heads missing for a number of weeks. Apart from a valve being stuck open, the valve seats are in an extremely bad condition, requiring re-machining and grinding in.
Fowler – This loco has again carried out all the shunting and works train duties without problem.
No.21 Diesel – Work has started on the restoration of this little loco with the cleaning and painting of the bodywork and frames.
No.21 in the Heritage Centre at Chasewater, 2011
Smith Rodley Crane – The crane has remained out of use and requires adjustment of its clutches before it can be used on its next big job – the building of Willow Vale platform.
133 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News April 1991
This looks like being the year that the Railway Inspector finally pays us another visit, as he has written saying he will inspect our railway ‘in the summer’. If what he sees meets with his approval we may have a longer length of line to run on, if it does not we might not have a line at all. It is now up to all of us to do our best to ensure that he sees an improvement in the existing railway, and that the extension to Willow Vale and beyond meets his requirements.
Later this year ‘Lion’ should enter service, and hopefully after that, ‘Asbestos’, which means that by Gricers Day we could have three engines in steam together for the first time in nine years, and even the new platform fro them to run trains into. Let us just hope the Railway Inspector is impressed during his visit!
No.4 Asbestos – Work on this loco has continued through the winter months and in March it passed its visual/ultrasonic boiler inspection. Examination, however, has revealed that part of the firebox crown is nearing its limit on plate thickness and it is only a matter of time before serious repairs will be necessary. The boiler will now be prepared for its hydraulic test.
No.5 Sentinel – This loco also passed its boiler examination in March and again looks like being the only serviceable steam loco for at least the first half of the season. Repair work over the winter has included re-machining of the steam brake valve, fitting of a new cast fire grate and work on the paintwork in preparation for the ‘gasworks red’ livery to be applied as soon as weather permits.
No.2 Lion – A brand new saddle tank was delivered to Chasewater and temporarily fitted to the loco in January to check its dimensions; it was virtually perfect! Other work has included the installation of sliding cab shutters and the boiler has been washed out. The boiler now awaits the fitting of new washout plugs before the hydraulic test can be carried out.
S100 – Work has continued on this loco with the redesign of the hornguide grinding machine. Another of the four main leaf springs has been stripped, cleaned and re-assembled.
DL7 – This loco was taken out of service for a couple of weeks recently while the injectors were removed, overhauled and refitted.
Fowler – This loco has remained in service without problem over the winter hauling works trains to the extension pastWillow Vale.
Smith Rodley Crane – This vehicle has seen only minimal use lately although work has continued on its repair and restoration.
Permanent Way News
The majority of work carried out by this department recently has been concentrated on the extension of track pastWillowVale. Whilst the number of volunteers has fallen slightly, those brave enough to carryon through the worst of the winter have at least had a comfortable works train. The favourite formation for this appears for some reason to be: the Fowler diesel, the DMU centre car and the two GWR brake vans with, of course, the stove kept well stoked.
The concrete platform for Willow Vale Halt has yet to be collected from theSevernvalley Railway as it is planned to carry out this job when the evenings become lighter allowing longer hours to be worked if necessary.
One extra job urgently requiring attention is the repair of the bridge handrails, which having recently been repaired and increased in height, have now been totally destroyed by the local toe rags.
Carriage & Wagon News
Midland four-wheel passenger brake – This vehicle has remained sheeted over during the winter, but work will continue as soon as the weather improves.
Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln six-wheel coach – Some progress has been made on this vehicle, but again the damp weather has limited the type of work that can be carried out.
Great Eastern six-wheel passenger brake – All of the doors have been removed from this vehicle for repair ‘off-site’, and the bodywork has been prepared and painted in yellow primer.
Wickham 2 car DMU E56171 & E50416 – The trailer car of this set has remained coupled to theGloucesterover the winter, and work has been carried out on refurbishment of the bar. A start has bee made on repairing, rubbing down and priming the bodywork of the power car ready for a repaint. Work has also been carried out inside, removing seats and tables to make room for re-decoration. Since the last issue of Chasewater News a preservation group dedicated to restoring the Wickham as a working DMU has been formed. This organisation is currently drawing up its proposed constitution which is expected to be similar to that of the Hudswell Group in that the DMU will remain at Chasewater.
Gloucestertrailer E56301 – Little work has been carried out on this vehicle over the winter and there are rumours that another society may be interested in purchasing it for preservation elsewhere. In the meantime it will be used on trains at Chasewater coupled to either the Wickham trailer or the new centre car.
Derby centre car W59444 – This coach arrived at Chasewater in January, having travelled from Tyseley diesel depot by low loader. Before it enters passenger service, it is planned to fit a bar as a replacement for the one in the Wickham trailer. Livery will probably remain BR blue and grey for the time being, although early BR carmine and cream has been rumoured as the intended replacement. One problem has become apparent in that being a centre car, it has no handbrake so it has to be marshalled between another braked vehicle and the loco or the buffer stops.
It now seems that the large portacabin which had been intended for use as a station buffet will not now be coming to Chasewater. In view of this, work has started on renovating and converting the two smaller units which arrived in December to form a smaller buffet and separate kitchen. As this work is likely to take quite a while, catering on a limited scale will take place on the train and possibly in the Wickham power car once more. The portaloo is now in its final position next to the south end of the platform where it will be much appreciated by the loco dept. Work on its refurbishment is progressing well and a race is now on to see whether the buffet or portaloo opens for business first.
An interesting meeting of working members was held in March to discuss ideas to improve work output on the railway by providing more organisation and planning so that priorities can be agreed in advance and last minute panics avoided. To achieve this, four departmental ‘foremen’, listed below, were appointed, whose job it is to liaise with each other to agree priorities and to suggest suitable jobs for anyone arriving at the railway and wishing to help out.
Permanent Way Les Emery
Carriage & Wagon Dave Whittle
Loco Dept Tony Sale
Station & Site Steve Organ
All photos – Nigel Canning