The Engines of Avonmouth

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.

ex-PBA No.23 'Merlin' (D.2003) on the KWVR (Helena via Wikipedia)

ex-PBA No.23 ‘Merlin’ (D.2003) on the KWVR (Helena via Wikipedia)

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 Finished in smart blue livery, they were direct replacements for the steam locos, which were withdrawn shortly afterward.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.

PBA 39 on the ESR (T. Dalton)

PBA 39 on the ESR (T. Dalton)

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. 

TBT – Steam meets diesel on the wharf


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.

Hudswell Clarke D1171 ‘Western Pride’

‘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, 17:7:79
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):
D1171 Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0DM  - Long Marston 23.03.13
Image is property of Mike Cottam and appears here as a direct link to his flickr page

TBT – Ashton Meadows Sidings

Today’s #throwbackthursday post is about Ashton Meadows sidings.
Ashton Meadows was formerly the exchange yard between the harbour branch and the line from Portishead to the main line at Parson Street junction. It was also the site of a civil engineers depot.

Until 1987, the 0-6-0 Hudswell Clarke diesel shunter ‘Western Pride’ would take loaded wagons from Ashton Meadows, up the New Cut, to the Western Fuel Depot (Behind M and L shed).

In 1983, ‘Western Pride’ broke down, and for 3 weeks, ‘Henbury’ was pressed into service, becoming the first preserved steam loco to haul freight for British Railways since the end of steam in 1968.

This was the view from the A3029 overbridge on a misty morning in February 1980. These pictures appear with the kind permission of Kevin Redwood.

37302 is running round the loaded 21t hoppers, the empties are ready for the return trip, 11:2:80
37302 is running round the loaded 21t hoppers, the empties are ready for the return trip. On the left is the building that later became ‘Megabowl’, and is now the site of Paxton Drive apartments. The area of the former sidings was levelled for the use of construction equipment and site offices.

The Western Fuel Company Hudswell pilot (ex PBA No. D1171) takes the loaded hoppers to Wapping Wharf, 11:2:80.
‘Western Pride’ takes the loaded hoppers out of Ashton Meadows and on toward the docks. This loco is now preserved and currently in storage in the midlands.

The trackbed here is now a foot and cycle path leading across Ashton Avenue Bridge, and the route of the proposed Metrobus guided busway.