Sunday, 12 February 2017

John Coiley Award

Certificate awarded to Sentinel 7109 'Joyce'
The Heritage Railway Association awards evening held on 11th February 2017 saw the presentation of the John Coiley award certificate for the restoration of Sentinel 7109 to working order.

I heard about this award late in 2016 and it took me quite by surprise as I did not know who had nominated Joyce for the award. I still don't but please accept my humble thanks - whoever you are!

Perhaps a little oddly, I had no opportunity beforehand to present my case for 7109 and the interpretation of the project as 'For the restoration of an industrial locomotive to a near replicate of one of two sister engines that ran on the Somerset and Dorset Railway' is different to how I've thought about it. However, it's interesting to learn of how others interpret 7109's restoration.

Nice to have an official pat on the back. Many thanks to the HRA. I always thought I needed to be certified!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Front LHS Water Filter Valve Repair

It was 2012 when I last wrote about Sentinel 7109's water tank filter valves. There I described how they worked and could be used to drain water pipes to avoid frost damage.

Early in 2016 just after 7109 had begun her new steaming career, there was a frost forecast so I followed the procedure and removed the drain plugs to empty the pipes.

That evening I received an urgent phone call saying that water was pouring out of the LHS of the water tank. This was not good news 25 miles away on a dark cold night.

Investigation showed that the front LHS valve was not only emptying the pipes but the entire tank!

I consulted Justin Goold who informed me that although these valves had a phosphor bronze valve spindle, they had a cast iron valve seat. The seat tended to corrode over time leaving the valve unable to close properly.

The solution was to machine out the valve seat and replace it with a brass insert which would not corrode and hence be more reliable for the future.

I couldn't do this myself and it needed to be done quickly between steamings. John Goold did the honours and it now works as it should.
New brass valve seat insert
Many thanks to John and Justin. What would I do without you!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Who was Joyce?

Sentinel 7109 was named 'Joyce' after the daughter of Mr Sandeman, the chairman of Croydon Gas works where 7109 operated for 32 years until 1960. This is known from "The Locomotives of Croydon Gas & Electricity Works" by J. B. Latham and published in 1970.
New replica nameplate
But that was the easy bit. Current S&DRHT secretary and long standing member, John Baxter, began searching on the Ancestry.co.uk website and I subsequently continued the challenge.

The search began with 'Joyce Sandeman' and 'Croydon'. This revealed only one person 'Joyce Helen Sandeman' and, according to various records, she was born on 1st July 1902 and died a spinster on 12th December 1974.

'Sandeman' being an uncommon name and located in Croydon would appear to be the only lead. Thus all information here is based on Joyce Helen although it could be completely wrong!

Joyce's parents were William James and Annie Charlotte Sandeman. William James Sandeman was the Gas Works chairman and other members of the family had connections with the gas supply industry.
1911 Census Entry
As Joyce died a spinster, there are no children to seek to ask about her so there is no reliable information to tap.

Joyce had two cousins: Ronald Frederick Sandeman, who married Elsie Louise Docking, and Barbara Clare Sandeman who married Cecil George Hine. All of these relatives died in the 1970s or 1980s.

Although I have no public access to this family via the ancestry website, it would appear that there were children who could possibly still be alive and a source of information. It would be lovely to hear from anyone who really knows something about Joyce herself.

I have, however, been speculating a little. I asked myself: 'If I had a steam locomotive where I was chairman of the company, what would be the likely age of my child for me to honour by using their name for the loco?'. In the range 5-15 maybe?

Joyce, being born in 1902, would have been 26 when 7109 arrived at Croydon Gas works in 1928. Seemingly, Joyce was an only child so maybe this could make sense but I'm not convinced this was the reason.

The 1939 census shows Joyce to be in the Cedar Grange Nursing Home in Caterham and described as 'incapacitated'. In that context, 'incapacitated' suggests that she may have been an invalid either from birth or through the consequences of WW1. The incapacity may have meant that she was cared for by her parents and was so dear to them that 7109 was honoured with her name.

This is of course purely speculation. If anyone can shine a light on Joyce, I would be grateful for any information - please leave me a comment to this posting. And, of course, be my guest and come to visit 7109.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Change in Ownership

Andy Chapman and Nigel Dickinson
On 1st November 2016, Nigel Dickinson and I agreed that for Sentinel 7109's future, it would be best if I continued as sole owner.

As a result, from 1st Nov 2016, Andy Chapman has full ownership.

I'd like to thank Nigel for all the work he has put in over six years or so. Without his original idea to restore Joyce to full working order, it would never have happened.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sentinel 7109 Re-Joyced!

9th July 2016 was a day for celebration as Sentinel 7109 was officially renamed 'Joyce' by visiting Antiques Roadshow expert and railway author Paul Atterbury.

The day began with plenty of boiler pressure but nameplate obscured.
Sentinel 7109 (unnamed) raring to go (Photo Callum Willcox)
Paul Atterbury meeting with Andy Chapman & Nigel Dickinson (Photo Michelle Chapman)
7109 re-Joyced by Paul Atterbury with Nigel Dickinson and Andy Chapman (Photo Bob Edwardes)
Zomerset Zoider put to good use (Photo Michelle Chapman)
I've been asked a number of times - Why 'Joyce'?

A very long time ago, works number 7109 was originally named 'Joyce' after the daughter of Mr Sandeman, the chairman of Croydon Gas Works. In Sentinel circles, many refer to 7109 as 'Joyce' so we decided that we should rededicate her with her original name (re-Joyce!).

At the same time, we also wanted to pay homage to the two Sentinels that worked at Radstock from 1928 until ~1960. In their LMS period from about 1930 until 1948, they were painted black and numbered 7190 and 7191. 'LMS 7109' kept the same idea whilst also keeping the 7109 works number. So Sentinel 7109 now carries the Croydon and Radstock identities in her new guise.
Paul's cab ride out towards Chilcompton (Photo Bob Edwardes)
Midsomer Norton's wonderful signal box with Joyce posing in front (Photo Callum Willcox)
Despite Joyce's diminutive size, she is a lot more powerful than she looks. Draw-bar capability is 19,600 lbs according to Sentinel's marketing literature.
Joyce eases up the hill dwarfed by 70 tons of carriage & brake van (Photo Callum Willcox)
I'm indebted to Callum Willcox for shooting and composing an excellent video recording the day's events. It can be seen on YouTube by clicking here. Don't miss it.
Sentinel 7109 as LMS 7109 - Joyce
Needless to say, a great day was had by all - particularly Joyce!

Next day, the S&D's 08 diesel shunter was detached and 'Joyce' hauled the four afternoon trains...
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