Avon Valley targets 2018 for Fry’s Sentinel comeback

THE Avon Valley Railway’s restoration of ex-Fry’s Chocolate Sentinel 4wVBT No. 7492 reached a significant milestone on September 14 when it moved under its own power, albeit courtesy of an air compressor.

It was the first time the 1928-built loco had moved under its own power in more than 60 years, having been taken out of service at Fry’s Somerdale chocolate factory in Keynsham, Bristol, in 1956.

Ex-Fry’s Chocolate Sentinel 4wVBT No. 7492 at Bitton, on the Avon Valley Railway, shortly before receiving its new deep blue paintwork. GARY BOYD-HOPE

It was a momentous moment for the Avon Valley team and the loco’s saviour Eric Miles, who brought No. 7492 to Bitton for restoration in 2010.

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The locomotive is now in the care of the Avon Valley railway Heritage Trust, and has been the subject of an ongoing restoration the railway is aiming to have finished next year.

With the exception of the boiler the loco is now largely complete and painted in Fry’s deep blue.

The September 14 trial was carried out to see how well the Sentinel’s motion ran under high pressure.

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