On Saturday March 24th 2018, the Bristol Harbour Railway celebrated 40 years of operation on Bristol’s Harbourside, accompanied by the Lydney Town Band and of course a cake to commemorate the occasion! 101-year old ‘Portbury’ did the honours, pushing and pulling the freshly-refurbished passenger train up and down all day. What started as a group of enthusiasts, one locomotive (Henbury) and a brake van has seen dozens of changes on the harbourside, with the disused industrial area changing into a vibrant tourist hotspot. Long may it continue to bring delight to passengers, giving a unique experience in UK preservation.
YouTube channel Unseen Steam recently posted this video of a railtour visit to Avonmouth in the days of steam.
On 21st July 1963 the RCTS ran what has been described as a “chaotic” railtour (not their fault) from Paddington to the Bristol area behind ‘Grange” class no. 6841 “Marlas Grange” which got the train to the Docks almost bang on time after a good run down the GWR main line to Swindon and then the connection to the Docks at Hallen Marsh Junction. In the Docks the train was worked by one of the Port of Bristol Authority’s tank locomotives, no S11 “Bristol”. All went well until the train was due to leave the Docks which took place around half an hour late. Further troubles ensued, with the train returning to London some one and a half hours late – many passengers had detrained at Stroud to try and find a quicker train home! (Information from http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk, with thanks to Gary Thornton)
The Bristol – Then and Now facebook page is well worth following if you have an interest in Bristol’s history. Many interesting bits and pieces to be found, including quite a bit of info and pictures on the harbour, and the railways of Bristol.
Roger Baynton posted these images and description today:
Bathurst Basin, view of bridge, engine house and Ostrich Pub.
The 1870s saw the opening for freight services of the Bristol Harbour Railway which ran from Temple meads under St Mary Redcliffe Church to emerge at Bathurst Basin by the Ostrich pub (seen here) and then on to Wapping Wharf
The railway crossed Bathurst lock on a steam-powered bascule (lifting) bridge on the site of the present footbridge, before continuing to Princes Wharf.
The Ostrich Pub in Guinea Street predates 1775. Sorry to contradict an attractive Bristol urban myth but the chamber at the back of the entrance passage, whilst hewn out of the sandstone cliff does not connect to the adjacent Redcliff caves. An whilst I’m in bah humbug mode, the Redcliff caves were not used for ‘storing’ slaves and probably not for smuggling their principal function being to provide raw material for Bristol’s once buoyant glass trade. But that is another story…..