This locomotive was built in 1936 by Peckett & Sons at a cost of around £850 for Courtaulds at Greenfield Works at Holywell. The site which had opened that year and employed over 3,000 people. The locomotive was designed to work within the tight loading gauge restrictions at Holywell and was only 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 11 tons. It is the only one of its type, but Peckett still managed to incorporate a few of their standard parts, some of which came from narrow-gauge designs. The wheels were only 2feet in diameter and the two outside cylinders were 8 inch X 12 inch. It is claimed to be the smallest standard gauge locomotive in Britain.
Its main duty was the shunting of wagon loads of waste, from the Rayon fibre manufacturing process, out of the plant and onto the sea wall from where it was dumped. This operation was complicated by the fact that the Holywell site was split in two by the LMS Chester – Holyhead line. The two parts of the site were linked by a short tunnel under the LMS line but this resulted in there being steep inclines either side of the tunnel. The locomotive was required to work flat out on the descent in order to be able to climb up the other side.
In 1954 the operation was replaced by a rope-incline and two diesel locomotives (one on either side of the tunnel) due to concerns over the safety of the operation.
Following being made redundant the locomotive was returned to the Atlas Works of Peckett & Sons. It was overhauled and given a new firebox and then delivered to the Grimsby where a new Cortaulds plant was being constructed. Here an extension was fitted to the cab to increase its height and the engine was set to work on construction trains. When the factory was completed Courtaulds took delivery of a Sentinel locomotive and 1900 was kept as a spare. Courtaulds last used it in the early sixties and it then lay in store until purchase by a Quainton Railway Society (QRS) member and arrived at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in September 1971.
Restoration of the locomotive then started at Quainton where it gained the name Jill. Before the work was completed the locomotive was sold to another QRS member who completed the overhaul. At the same time the opportunity was taken to remove the unslightly cab extension.
During 1980 the engine returned to service and fitted with vacuum brakes, it was employed on lightweight passenger trains and demonstration freight trains.
The locomotive spent the summer of 1983 on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway where it completed 35 miles on light passenger services.
After a number of years operation the boiler ticket expired and the locomotive was taken out of service. After completing the overhaul, which involved major work, the locomotive returned to service.
It is now undergoing its second major overhaul in preservation. At the end of April 2014 a major step forward was taken with the frames being re-wheeled.
With its diminutive size, it is known to many as The Flying Bufferbeam.
|1900 at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre – August 1988|