British Queen at Scarborough departing for Pickering in the 1930's

Sentinel Railcars

The Sentinel Railcars were the LNER's cheap way to improve the local branchline services to compete against the increasingly popular road traffic. After their trials on the Malton, Whitby, Scarborough, Malton lines in 1927 and 1928, the Forge Valley line became the first railway in the area to have a full railcar service.

Commencing on 11th April 1928 with the two-cylinder coach Rodney (80 Horsepower), followed soon after in the same year by six cylinder coach Hope. The railcars were chosen for the line because of its light traffic and slight gradients.

These vehicles were built by Sentinel Wagon Works of Shrewsbury and the bodies were provided by Metro-Cammell.

They used a vertical boiler and the driver could operate them from either end. The most popular out of the 2, 6, and 12 cylinders built was the 6 cylinder, of which 50 were built. At first the livery was a teak finish, but this was soon dropped for the prefered green and cream that matched the LNER's tourist stock. The railcars were third class only and equipped with 59 seats.

At times the railcars were full, so the Forge Valley line used an ex-Great Northern six-wheel brake third coach. Eventually eight trailers were built to go with the railcars which held a further 56 seats plus standing space, also in the green and cream livery. The first appearence of one of these trailers on the line was on 3rd August 1935, pulled by 'Telegraph'. They were non-too popular with the passengers and were a rare sight.

During 1935, the Sentinel Railcar 'Tyneside Venturer' operated a circular route along the Forge Valley line via Goathland. At the time this vehicle was allocated to Middlesbrough and was the first diesel-electric railcar.

The railcars did improve the service slightly although breakdowns were a regular sight and they were gradually taken out of service up to nationalisation.

Photos of Sentinel Railcars :