Sentinel       Works No 9387 0-4-0 VBGT


This locomotive was built by Sentinel in 1948 for Roads Reconstruction at Whatley Quarry in Frome as their No789/2.

At Whatley it carried the number 3. It was employed to ferry the quarried stone in trains of up to seven side-tipping Hudson wagons nearly 2½ miles from Whatley to Hapsford Mill exchange sidings, where the stone was crushed into road-building aggregate. The line had originally been laid as a 2ft gauge railway along parts of the old Vallis Vale tramway, but increased demand meant the line was re-laid to standard gauge in 1943.

At the time the locomotive was purchased as new a team of 60 people were producing 6,000 tons per week at the quarry.

In 1963 the tortuous route of the line was eased by the creation of new tunnels. In the following year a processing plant was built at the quarry which reduced Hapsford to a marshalling yard.

The locomotive is thought to have been withdrawn from service in 1971 and donated to Frome Town Council in November of that year.

It was put on display at Welshmill Adventure Playground in Frome at some time prior to March 1976 in a yellow livery.

After safety concern about children playing on a rusty old engine it was moved in August 1998 by its owners (Hanson Aggregates) to the Company’s Tytherington Quarry near Thornbury in Gloucestershire. Here it was painted in Hanson’s corporate blue livery and acted as gate guardian. It remained for many years.

By early 2015 the locomotive was acquired by the Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre in Somerset based at the former Sandford & Banwell station on the Great western Railway’s Yatton-Wells Srawberry Line. This Sentinel locomotive was acquired because an identical Sentinal engine (Works No 9391) had worked on the short rail line between the station’s exchange sidings and the nearby Sandford Quarry from 1949 until the Strawberry Line closed 15 years later.

The locomotive was then cosmetically restored at the Severn Valley Railway and placed on static display at the station in March 2016.

9387 at Welshmill Adventure Plaground, Frome – March 1976
9387 at Bridgnorth awaiting cosmetic restoration – April 2015
9387 at Sandford Station – August 2018

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