Sentinel shunters and railcars

Presenter: Paul Abell

For our second attended meeting of 2021/22 season, we were delighted to welcome Paul Abell back to Sheffield, with his presentation on Sentinel shunters and railcars. Pleasingly, Paul opened by referring to parts 9B & 10B of the RCTS publication series ‘’Locomotives of the LNER’’ with reference to classes Y1 & Y3 locomotives and LNER railcars. An opening slide of class Y1 BR 68150 at Selby brought back happy memories to the writer, who recalls also seeing this in 1958/59. The LNER first introduced class Y1 in 1925, to replace horses for lightweight shunting! In a very wide-ranging presentation, Paul took us on a journey through the history of the Sentinel Wagon Works, from 1875 to 1980. Perhaps surprisingly was the extent of their wide-world coverage with not only locomotives but railcars, in places such as Egypt, Ceylon (as was), Argentina, Columbia, Australia and more at home, in Jersey. A superb collection of slides followed, with some highlights being an LNER railcar at Hitchin in 1937 and a pre-introduction Sentinel trial for the LNER on the Derwent Valley Light Railway, complete with the LNER dynamometer car! Other highlights were the double ended Sentinel locos (LNER class Y10) on the Wisbech & Upwell tramway, and latterly at Yarmouth. Apparently the LMS introduced only a small number of Sentinel locomotives, particularly on the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, at Radstock. For light shunting duties they tended to rely on their stock of pre-grouping 0-4-0T & 0-6-0T ‘Pugs’. A detailed summary of the LNER railcars followed from 1925-1932. By 1934 some eighty examples were held in LNER stock. Many carried old stagecoach names e.g. ‘’Tally Ho’’. We received a wealth of technical information covering the complexities of the vertical ‘engines’ with double cylinders and the use of poppet valves, as seen on LNER classes Y1 & Y3. A divergence on other locos was that of a marine type water tube boiler (shades of the LNER ‘Hush, Hush’ experimental loco). Industrial steam locomotives were also covered, with local points of interest at Staveley & Rotherham Parkgate. Some exceptionally fine slides on steam powered lorries were also appreciated. A more detailed exposition of all other aspects of Sentinel applications followed, with very high-quality drawings reproduced, and with technical details shown to good effect. The session ended on a happy note with some recently taken slides of LNER Sentinel loco class Y1 BR 68153 (departmental loco 54) on the Middleton Railway, and due to be steamed in during this month of October. An excellent presentation, enjoyed by all.