Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Clean as a Whistle!

When Sentinel 7109 was originally brought to Midsomer Norton Station in December 2004, its whistle was missing. From early pictures of 7109 in service, a tall thin item was required as a replacement.

Tall thin whistle 1
Tall thin whistle 2
Other Sentinel locos seem to have a variety of whistles such as William's but something more authentic to the original was wanted.

William's proud possession
Early July 2011, the ideal thing came up on Ebay and I was the only bidder! Although its fittings were not quite suitable, it seemed as good as was likely to be found (another was offered for £350 which was declined rapidly!).

On arrival, it was tarnished but in good working order and a definite possibility.
Clearly, it once had a sticky label attached
Gun-metal mounting and steam inlet to the left
It's such a simple, passive device, I'm sure I could have made one!
Cap machined from solid gun-metal
To clean off the tarnish, I used a phosphoric acid gel originally used for derusting car bodywork. Finally it was brightened-up by Brillo pad and a french polishing technique known as grisse d'elbeaux.
Shiny and clean as a whistle!
Some say (where've I heard that before?) that the whistle looks like one from an 08 diesel-electric shunter. I checked this out in Brian Haresnape's British Rail Fleet Survey "7 Diesel Shunters". It appears that 08s did have this type but they also had a number of others and horns too. As Sentinels also had this type and others, I'm sure this whistle will do just fine!

Despite many attempts at testing the whistle with compressed air, my neighbours are still talking to me. However, when I put the video below together, it frightened the hell out of the local cats and the next-door dog had a fit!

(Note: I've sometimes had trouble playing the video repeatedly. If this is the case, reload the window (F5 on PCs) and try again). Alternatively, it's here on YouTube.


  1. like yer whistle - very shiny and a sweet little parp - and can we use some of your grisse d'elbeau? so much classier than our english version!

  2. I'll send some grisse d'elbeaux over to you!


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