Sentinel 9387 Vertical Boiler Tank engine

Sentinel VBT 9387 awaiting restoration in April 2015

Sentinel 9387 was present on the SVR from 2015-2016 for cosmetic restoration work.

The locomotive looks like a diesel but is actually a steam engine built by Sentinel & Sons (Shrewsbury) Limited as works number 9387 of 1948. Sentinel incorporated small, vertical water-tube boilers which powered multiple-cylinder, high speed enclosed engines. The cylinders were actuated by poppet valves and the final drive was either by chain or cardan shaft. This locomotive is a 100 hp Vertical Boiler Tank Engine with chain driven wheels and gears (Whyte notation 4wVBT VCG).


9387 in service

Whatley Quarry[note 1] in Frome, Somerset was operated by Frome Rural District Council until around 1930. A number of companies in the area subsequently combined to form Roads Reconstruction (1934) Ltd. After WWII the quarry rail system was upgraded to standard gauge, with trains of up to seven Hudson side-tipping wagons hauled by Sentinel locos including 9387 which was number 3.[1]

After being retired from industrial use the locomotive was displayed at Welshmill Adventure Playground in Frome at some time prior to March 1976, in yellow livery with 'ARC' lettering.[note 2] The last owner was the Hanson Group, and from August 1998 until early 2015 No. 9387 was on static display outside their Tytherington Quarry in Gloucestershire, with cosmetic overhaul at the West Somerset Railway in 2000/2001[2].

9387 in preservation

9387 arrived on the SVR in March 2015 for cosmetic restoration work to be carried out, and was photographed at Bridgnorth Loco Works. This involved stripping of paint, metalwork repairs and painting. Heritage Painting finished the paintwork and lining, the restoration being completed by the end of February 2016 when the locomotive left for its new home at the Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre in Somerset.[3] It now carries green livery and is named 'Marjorie'.

Sentinel 9387 at Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre in Somerset 23 September 2017.

See also


  1. Still active as Hanson's biggest quarry, producing around six million tonnes of aggregate a year.
  2. Several of the Roads Reconstruction directors were also directors of Amalgamated Roadstone Corporation Ltd, which by 1973 had amalgamated with Amey to form Amey Roadstone Corporation.