Thanks to Archie Beale for these photos of Portbury ex-works in either 1988-89 or the 1990s doing passenger trips on the harbourside.
One of the photos includes the bascule bridge over Bathurst Basin, where the line ran towards Bristol Temple Meads.
Well worth a read!
RMweb user Kevin aka Rivercider has tracked down some photos of the then-closed Ashton Gate Station site, with Ashton Meadows sidings on the BHR in the background.
This one is from flickr user emmdee and shows an 08 shunting the yard.
Flickr user Blue_Pelican_railway uploaded this one dated 1977, showing that the warehouse on the right has now had its rail connection severed. Nature is starting to take hold of the platforms.
Blue_Pelican_railway also uploaded this shot from May 1984 with a Billy Graham train in the foreground, and a BR Class 37 in the yard. The engineers depot was still in use at this time. The growth of surrounding foliage in the intervening years is evident.
It’s been a while since the last Throwback Thursday post, so here’s an extra special event from the BHR’s history.
In 1983, for the Bristol Wine Fair, some special trains were run from Bristol Temple Meads on to the harbour line. The motive power was Stanier “Black 5′ No. 5000, part of the National Collection. It is pictured both on the BHR and at Temple Meads in company with ex-GWR ‘King George V’.
I believe that, as with the coal trains, the special ran at high tide to reduce the stress on the riverbank.
These pictures appear here courtesy of Paul and John Stanford, with thanks.
As previously mentioned on this blog, in 1981, the Western Fuel Co.’s diesel shunter Western Pride was in need of an overhaul. This locomotive was used to shunt wagons on the dockside and into the WFC compound, as well as trip workings along the New Cut to Ashton Meadows sidings, from where a BR loco would take the wagons onto the main line.
So it was that Henbury was hired as the first preserved steam loco to pull scheduled goods trains for British Railways (BR having stopped using steam traction in 1968). She crept onto the Western Fuel Co.’s site at 7am on Monday 28th September 1981 and worked for the next three weeks hauling coal trains of up to 450 tons.
This cinefilm was captured by Bob Edwardes and appears here with permission.
Points of particular interest include running on the main line to Bristol Bath Road engine shed to use the turntable (creating quite a contrast to the BR Blue mainline diesels at Bristol Temple Meads!) and double heading with the PBA Rolls-Royce Sentinel No. 41 (10220) that took over duties from Henbury.
The Avonmouth Docks system utilised a large motive power stud, mainly consisting of locomotives constructed in Bristol by Avonside or Peckett. In 1939, there were some 28 steam locomotives in the fleet.
The steam fleet included (But was not limited to):
S1 ‘Hudson’ (Avonside 1724 of 1915) – 0-6-0ST
S2 ‘William’ (Avonside 1725 of 1915) – 0-6-0ST
S3 ‘Portbury’ (Avonside 1764 of 1917) – 0-6-0ST
S4 ‘Percy’ (Avonside 1800 of 1918) – 0-6-0ST
S5 ‘Brian’ (Avonside 1799 of 1918) – 0-6-0ST
S6 ‘Fyffe’ (Peckett 1721 of 1926) – 0-6-0ST
S7 ‘Ashton’ (Peckett 1878 of 1934) – 0-6-0ST
S8 ‘Westbury’ (Peckett 1877 of 1934) – 0-6-0ST
S9 ‘Henbury’ (Peckett 1940 of 1937) – 0-6-0ST
S10 ‘Hallen’ (Peckett 2035 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
S11 ‘Bristol’ (Peckett 2036 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
S12 ‘Clifton’ (Peckett 2037 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
S13 ‘Redland’ (Peckett 2038 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
‘Lionel” (Peckett No.466 of 1889) – 0-6-0ST
‘Henry’ (Peckett 1264 of 1913) – 0-6-0ST
‘Strathcona’ (Peckett No. 1243 of 1910) – 0-6-0ST
The ‘S’ prefix was added to the loco numbers by the early 1960s as diesel traction was introduced, as well as the addition of the distinctive red and white striped bufferbeams.
At first a small batch of Hudswell Clarke diesels were purchased, of which D1171 ‘Western Pride’ (Later sold to Western Fuel Co., now preserved) was one. Another, No.23 ‘Merlin’ is preserved at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire, although currently out of use awaiting overhaul.
In 1965 a fleet of Sentinel shunters came to the port. Finished in smart blue livery, they were direct replacements for the steam locos, which were withdrawn shortly afterward.
The Sentinels worked right up until the closure of the Avonmouth Docks Railway system in 1983.
Sentinel PBA 39 is now preserved on the nearby East Somerset Railway, and has recently been restored to its original PBA livery. Also on the East Somerset Railway is PBA 42, also known as ‘Eric’, which went on to work for La Farge in Westbury, before being preserved in 2007, and is currently awaiting restoration.
The photographs on this page (Unless otherwise stated) were taken by Jack Faithfull and purchased from the Rail Correspondance and Travel Society’s website. They appear here for research purposes only and may not be used for profit or gain without permission.
After the preservation project at Radstock closed, and before she was brought to L Shed for restoration, Portbury was stored in a warehouse at Avonmouth Docks. Some restoration work had been undertaken at Radstock, and the loco was re-assembled before delivery back to Avonmouth. It was to be another 10 years until she returned to steam.
The photographs on this page (Unless otherwise stated) were taken by Kevin Hughes and purchased from the Rail Correspondance and Travel Society’s website. They appear here for research purposes only and may not be used for profit or gain without permission.
In this photo found on the Bristol Railway Archive, ‘Henbury’ complete with full yellow end and bufferbeam, meets ‘Western Pride’ on Whapping wharf circa 1981.
The diesel loco is standing on what is now the long siding in the yard. This photo also illustrates the industrial backdrop of the early days of the Harbour Railway, quite a contrast to the contemporary view.