Portbury in Preservation

Avonside No. 1764 ‘Portbury’ was built in 1917 for the war effort, destined to work at the Portbury shipyards. The end of the war in 1918 meant the shipyard never actually built a vessel.
She eventually moved into the fleet of shunters based in Avonmouth and worked there until replaced by diesels.

Here are a few photos from across the internet of her life in preservation.

In the early 1970s, all three of the BHR’s steam locomotives were to be found at Radstock station in Somerset. This was part of a preservation effort to save and operate a section of the Somerset and Dorset Railway.

Here she is outside the shed, looking rather forlorn.
Source: http://www.geoffspages.co.uk/raildiary/radstock.htm

and another pic inside the shed next to 7F 53808

Portbury sharing space in Radstock Shed

Portbury sharing space in Radstock Shed

Unfortunately, the project at Radstock was unsuccessful and the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust relocated to Washford on the West Somerset Railway.
‘Henbury’, ‘Portbury’ and No. 242 found their way to the Bristol Harbour Railway, opened in 1978.

‘Portbury’s restoration was completed in Bristol and she was in brought into operation on the BHR.
Here she is in lined blue livery back in 1992.


Original source:

and in operation in 1996

Source: http://bit.ly/1erjN1L

After another overhaul, she emerged in 2001 in a livery akin to the one she first wore, the initials ‘I W & D’ stand for ‘Inland Waterways and Docks’.


Source: http://www.bristoljpg.co.uk/2004/portbury.jpg

Now, in 2013, this livery has been adapted to more accurately represent her 1917 condition – note the lack of nameplate (She was not named ‘Portbury’ until her time at Avonmouth Docks) and the black wheels.

5 thoughts on “Portbury in Preservation

  1. Whilst researching the served of WW1 on Jacksdale war memorial (small village in Notts) we found Harry May who had re-enlisted on 1st September 1917 in the IW & D Portbury, Royal Engineers. Is this Locomotive what they were building? The type bears an uncanny resemblance to James Oakes Locomotives. Where they a common design?

    • Hi Martyn, thanks for the comment! In answer to your question, the name ‘Portbury’ was not applied to this locomotive until it had been sold to work at Avonmouth Docks, but it was indeed originally built to work on construction at the Portbury Shipyard under the control of IW&D. I assume that the construction of the shipyard itself was what Harry May’s detachment of Royal Engineers were working on.
      Here’s a link to wikipedia giving a few details on the shipyard:

      As for the design, it is fairly typical of the time, and indeed of the Avonside Locomotive Company, I am not sure if the locos James Oakes used were built by Avonside?


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