Work on Henbury progresses as Coronavirus restrictions are relaxed. The majority of the loco has been reassembled and today it was pulled out of the shed to have a warming fire lit. Over the next few days the loco will steadily be brought up to pressure and every joint checked.
Thanks to Rob Skuse for the photos and information.
It is dated around 1966-1967 and shows the upper deck of Ashton Avenue Bridge in the process of being dismantled. At this time the lines across the bridge were still double track, the West line was not removed until some time later.
“At one time this bridge over the New Cut was a really extraordinary structure – it had 2 decks, road above rail, & swung, using power supplied from the City Docks hydraulic system. The control cabin was on an elevated structure spanning the roadway. Built by Bristol Corporation & opened in 1906 it allowed the GWR’s line to Wapping Wharf (from Temple Meads) to be extended to serve more wharves, a new goods shed at Canon’s Marsh, & to connect with the Portishead Branch. A swing bridge was needed because the New Cut was used by river traffic to access Bathurst Basin. It was last swung in 1934 & formally fixed in 1951. The roadway & control cabin were removed in 1965-66 as part of major road changes around Cumberland Basin.”
This photo (source unknown) shows the bridge when both decks were in use. Note the tracks crossing left to right to access to other sidings next to A Bond, where the Create Centre car park now is. The diverging line at the bottom of the photo is the one to Canon’s Marsh.
From the 24-27th May 1996, Bristol Harbour was host to the International Festival of the Sea. This was a huge event featuring many guest ships and attractions, and of course the BHR played a part. A shining and fully-lined out ‘Henbury’ and ‘Portbury’ were joined by LB&SCR E1 class 0-6-0T No.B110, then based at the East Somerset Railway (Now being restored to service on the Isle of Wight as No.W2 ‘Yarmouth’). The two locos operated a shuttle service between the station at Ashton Meadows and the Bristol Industrial Museum with 3 loaned coaches.
Thanks to Eric Gates for these photos.
Phil Cass was also there to capture these photos, thanks to Phil for sharing them.
The Coles Crane has already begun to prove useful as this week it was used to get Portbury and Henbury out of the shed, so that the tank and cab could be reunited with the big Peckett. They had been undergoing restoration in the main workshop and were craned into position using one of the museum’s working electric cranes on the dockside. The repositioning also allowed the two Bristol-built stablemates to be positioned alongside the steam crane for the first time in years. This operation was done with minimum amount of staff and volunteers in line with coronavirus precautions.
Recently the self-propelled crane was brought out of the shed at Butterfly Junction, where it’s been stranded ever since the slip, and taken on a low loader back to the running shed. It will undergo recertification prior to being used on several relaying projects that are planned. Thanks to Bill Drewett for these photos.
The 1861-built Steam Tug ‘Mayflower’ takes another step in the progress of its overhaul as the boiler is lifted back into the hull. Assisting in the operation is 1917-built Avonside ‘Portbury’ and 1951-built Stothert and Pitt ‘Crane 32’, both working exhibits and still earning their keep at M Shed Museum. Whilst the superstructure was off I took the opportunity to film some shots of the engine room with natural light, a rare occurrence! The lifting operation was undertaken by a minimum number of volunteers due to the COVID-19 situation and working regulations.
Henbury’s overhauled rolling chassis has now been reunited with the boiler, allowing re-assembly to continue. In order to do this, the temporary track was extended out of the workshop, and a commercial crane was employed to turn the frames through 90 degrees and onto the quayside track. Portbury was able to bring the boiler on its trolley down to the quayside, where it was lifted into the frames. It was nearly dark by the time the operation was completed. Lastly, Portbury took her old stablemate back to the running shed.
Before the Bristol Harbour Railway as we know it today was opened, the locomotives ‘Henbury’ and ‘Portbury’ travelled around a bit, spending some time at Radstock before relocating to Bishop’s Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway.
Whilst looking through the Cornwall Railway Society’s website I found these two photos by Ron Kosys showing the motley collection of industrial locos in 1976.
Click the images to go to the website. The photos are the copyright of Ron Kosys.
Poor Portbury looks in a rough state, Henbury had last been in steam at Radstock in 1973, and would not run again until the opening of the BIM’s line in 1978.