It’s the 11th July 1993. ‘Portbury’, resplendent in blue, is being prepared for the day’s work. Note the industrial buildings behind, now the site of apartments.
Following up from the story of Portbury in Preservation, here are a few highlights from Henbury’s career after being withdrawn from Avonmouth shed in the 1960s.
Henbury was rebuilt with the 5 year old boiler from a sister engine, and in after a spell in store, in 1972 she was located at Radstock engine shed with No.242 and Portbury.
She was put to work hauling brake van specials from Radstock Station to Writhlington – a distance of approximately 1.5 miles.
At this time she wore a partly lined out green livery (lining on the cabside and front of the saddletank only), lighter than the shade she had when withdrawn, with red buffer beams.
As mentioned before, the Radstock operation finished in 1975 and Henbury was homeless for a short while, until in 1978, the Bristol Industrial Museum opened.
Henbury was present at the opening ceremony of the museum, and was immediately put to work pulling passenger trains on the quayside.
At this time, coal trains from the main line would regularly travel down to Whapping Wharf sidings, either trip worked a BR loco, or thereafter by the Western Fuel Company’s Hudswell Clark shunter.
It was in 1981 that the diesel loco required repairs, the Western Fuel Co. turned to the nearby museum for assistance, and Henbury was pressed into service to keep coal coming in to Bristol, thereby becoming the first preserved steam loco to haul scheduled goods trains for British Rail.
Repainted with a yellow bunker, running plate and WESTERN FUEL CO. lettering on the tank sides, she pulled full wagons from Ashton Meadows to Whapping Wharf, and empties back, for two weeks.
The above photographs are copyright John Chalcraft and can be purchased from Railphotoprints
The above photos are copyright flickr user Emmdee
Above photos are copyright Robert Tarling
Henbury has hauled thousands of passengers over the years. In the 1990s her livery was altered again, the lining more closely resembles that which she wore at Avonmouth, but extending over the saddle tank as well as the cab.
Here she is pulling BR Mk1 carriages at the Festival of the Sea in 1996, before the main line link was severed.
Rob Skuse on the M Shed working exhibits page compiled a little selection of Henbury’s exploits over the past 10 years. These pictures are all copyright Rob Skuse.
In July 2014, she was withdrawn once more, and will be dismantled to allow her boiler to be inspected.
While the BHR currently operates the ex-British Gas shunter (Known as ‘The Bug’), this isn’t the first Ruston & Hornsby Diesel to have worked on the docks railways in Bristol.
In July 1952, just over the water at the Bristol Gas Company’s works at Canon’s Marsh (Now the site of luxury new build and re-build flats), a 4-wheel diesel mechanical shunter is at work.
This fantastic photo posted on the magnificent Bristol Railway Archive site shows ex-GWR pannier tank loco No.9769 taking a special train for the Railway Correspondance & Travel Society down the quayside line along Hotwells road in 1959.
This photo is property of The Railway Magazine.
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.
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’ was 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.
The following pictures appear with the kind permission of Geoff Hartland.
Number 110 was built at Brighton Works in 1877 and named ‘Burgundy’. It was withdrawn in 1927 and sold to a colliery in Rugeley, which resulted in it being the only member of its class to survive scrapping, being sold into preservation in 1963. It was in service on the ESR between 1993 and 1997, when it was withdrawn early due to firebox problems. She is now on display at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s ‘Train Story’ exhibition, and will be restored in due course.
‘Western Pride’ was a former Port of Bristol Authority loco, and from the 1970s to 1987, it took loaded coal wagons from Ashton Meadows to Wapping Wharf sidings and the Coal Depot (Western Fuels) there, and returned empty wagons to the sidings.
As loaded coal wagons left overnight had a tendency to get vandalised, there was a secure storage compound at the coal depot, where the loco and wagons were stored overnight.
Western Fuels ex PBA 0-6-0 D1171 standing at Wapping Wharf, July 1979 (Courtesy Kevin Redwood)
D.1171 made her last trip along the BHR in May 1987, on an overnight move to the coal depot at Filton. She has since been sold into preservation, and after a period in store outside at MOD Long Marston (As seen in this picture by Cliff Jones Photography), restoration has begun, as seen here (March 2013):
Image is property of Mike Cottam and appears here as a direct link to his flickr page