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Firing Sentinel steam lorries

Discussion in 'Everything else Heritage' started by The Green Howards, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Well-Known Member

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    I found myself at the Lincolnshire Steam and Vintage Rally last weekend and spotted a Sentinel steam lorry/waggon done out in Cadbury's Chocolate livery - I last encountered this joining the A1 some months prior.

    It got me thinking as I snapped a photo of it; where's the coal and water kept and how do you fire them?
     
  2. paullad1984

    paullad1984 Member

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    With skill....
     
  3. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    Depends on model. The one you saw is an "S4" (shaft drive, 4-wheel). The boiler on these is located to the rear of the cab, there are two coal bunkers each side of the boiler, located behind the driver's seat and the stoker's seat. These are filled from the outside through hatches in the cab roof. The stoker will shovel the coal from the shovelling plate at the bottom of the bunker into the top of the firing chute of the vertical boiler.

    On the earlier 'Standard' Sentinel, 'Super' Sentinel and "DG" Sentinel (DG = double geared) the boiler is located to the front of the cab. The coal bunker on these models is between and under the driver's and stoker's seats. The stoker will otherwise fire it in the same way. The view of the fire is limited looking down the firing chute, and is something that should only be contemplated with either the regulator or blower is 'on' (search on line for the impressive fireball that launches into the cab if you don't pay attention!).

    Water feed is either by engine mounted pump, or injector, under the control of the driver. There's a large water tank located under the bed of the lorry at the rear.

    Any old idiot can drive a Sentinel, but it takes skill to fire one and keep the pressure on the red line the whole time!
    (but it's normal for performance to be a little slack at the start of a journey until the super heater is up to temperature, whoever is firing)
     
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  4. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    (PS: I can tell you're a fellow of good breeding and well educated for knowing the correct way to spell "Steam Waggon"! :) )
     
  5. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    The thing you missed out about the firing, the fireman must know the road, cruising along a fairly level road then coming round a corner to find a long climb is the firemans nightmare. Totally unprepared you will struggle to keep up with the sudden demand for a lot more steam. Been there and done it, had to stop in handy layby part way up for recovery.
    And one more thing, firing at night, no light in the cab, stick small shovel in the general direct of the black hole which is the coal plate, turn, find black handle to open firing chute, burn hand when you miss first time, open and any vision you had ruined by the glare, tip coal in, replace lid, try to find black hole for more coal. Continue........

    At least one spare shovel is a good idea as a full one has been know to slip from grasp, to be reduced to a dribble of molten metal into the ash pan....
     
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  6. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    Well yeah, that sorta goes without saying - these railway folk dunna know what it's like to drive/fire an engine until you go out on the road! ;) Lol.
    You get proper hills, and you're quite possibly driving the route for the first time - or at least the first time on a road engine, so knowing how much water in the boiler is 'enough' for the hill ahead, or deciding whether to drop the 2nd pin in or not, or if you'll manage going up/down without dropping into grumbly gear, or if the fire's built up enough for a steep hill ahead is all part of the "experience" :) ...as is single manning, where the driver has to consider the state of the fire, water, go/stop and steering at the same time :)

    (Note: For those with a sense of humour bypass, there is an element of humour and tongue in cheek in the above ;) ).


    Incidentally, and more seriously, those interested in seeing the "Cadbury's" S4 and a whole host of other Sentinel Waggons should head to the Onslow Park steam rally at Shrewsbury this weekend (sun/mon) :)
     
  7. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Try doing Runcorn to Malpas with a Fowler roller towing a van and water trailer, singled manned, only about 35 miles and dammed hard work at around 3/4 mph.
     
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  8. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    Not been up to Runcorn, a bit north of my area. Up until last year I did Malpas for the previous couple of years - in round figures 40 miles from base, but I cheated. I'd do 7 miles to Onslow, from Onslow 22 miles to Team Seddon's yard, lay over there for a couple of weeks then do the 9 miles to Malpas. Assuming the hitlers on the gate would let you out on the Sunday night, I'd then do the 9 miles back on the Sunday, then the 30 miles back to base a week or so later.

    Going the back lanes from Whixall was flippin' hilly through the Wyches, to the extent that in recent years I went via the A41 - about 2 miles further but much easier. I could just squeak that on a tender of water, whilst I always had to stop to refill going the shorter hilly way.



    With one exception, I've exclusively single-manned out on the road with my Aveling roller for the last 9 years. :)

    (Just about to soak the oil and coal dust off in the bath from roading up to Onslow this afternoon - hence why I know the Cadbury's S4 is already onsite ;) I understand a number of Waggons are going up the Horseshoe Pass tomorrow for the hell of it :) ).
     
  9. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Well-Known Member

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    Well, thank you all for your replies - fascinating stuff! I caught up with the Cadbury's S4 on my way home and they do seem to have a good turn of speed to them; what strikes me is that they look quite 'modern', or at least, modernistic for their era.
     
  10. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    The run up to the Ponderosa cafe at the top of the Horseshoe is now a regular thing for those attending the Shrewsbury meet.
     
  11. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking forward to getting my photos developed now as I snapped most of the Sentinels there; the camera's an unknown quantity though - a Nikon F60 bought for a fiver!
     
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  12. Johnb

    Johnb Part of the furniture

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    Interesting to hear of someone still using film, I've just sold all my Olympus OM gear having not used it for some time. I think the F60 was Nikon's cheapest SLR and only made from 1998 to 2001, with a standard lens they are about £25 now so you got a bargain and being Nikon it should be durable.
     
  13. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Well-Known Member

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    I bought it because my usual choice in film cameras is Pentax (and indeed, my DSLR is a Pentax) and I wanted to compare it with a Pentax MZ-50 I bought - also for a fiver! - at the same time. Neither came with lenses though. The MZ-50 has been to those nice people in Brentford for a full overhaul and calibration.

    There are a number of film cameras here: a Pentax ME Super, a P30T and an Olympus mju-II 115 bought as a "going abroad" camera, which I haven't used for something like 15 years. I should give it a whirl again :)

    Oh, and mustn't forget my Zenit E!

    Now, what about a Pentax 645...
     
  14. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    Unlike last year, where the run was an organised event starting from the Sentinel Works, this years was an informal affair.
    What happens next year remains to be seen, although Richard with the DG6 has already stated a desire to do it again! :)

    After hitching a lift with a DG4 last year, this time I took up the invite for a day out with a Foden on Saturday...
    [​IMG]

    ...as nice as it was, I have to say my heart still lies with the Sentinels:
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Jack Enright

    Jack Enright New Member

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    Fascinating stuff! My dad told me that his dad drove the first steam waggon bought by Limerick City Council; apparently, before becoming a horse driver for the Council, grandad had worked for a spell on the railways (I don't know what he did), and was the only bloke on the council who had any first-hand experience with steam engines - or engines of any sort, come to that.

    I don't know what type of waggon it was, though - neither the make nor the purpose. I know my grandad drove a council dustcart, but I don't know at what point he was doing that job. I wouldn't have thought the Council would buy a steam lorry in the very early days, and use it for such a mucky job as that. Considering how poverty-stricken that part of Ireland was in the 1920s - so labour was dirt cheap - buying the waggon must have made a big hole in their budget.
     
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  16. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    Apologies for going off-topic, who are these "people in Brentford"? (I'd like to get my Pentax SLR fixed properly by someone who knows what they're doing... still used for slide film occasionally!)
     
  17. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Well-Known Member

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    http://www.asahiphoto.co.uk/
     
  18. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    Thanks, much obliged. Not sure when I'll get around to it, I only do slide film on foreign trips & none planned currently. There is something rather nice about it though.
     
  19. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Well-Known Member

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    Well, a sad follow up to this. I had the film processed and it was completely blank: not even the frame numbers were present, which I found odd. :(
     
  20. Johnb

    Johnb Part of the furniture

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    Sounds like a serious light leak somewhere
     

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