Have Your Say on the Western Harbour Redevelopment – Last Chance!

The Western Harbour / Harbour Hopes project encompasses the redevelopment of land around the Cumberland Basin, including the Bonded Warehouses and the Western end of the Railway itself. The consultation for this closes this Friday (April 22nd).
If you feel that it is important to retain the Bristol Harbour Railway’s planned station and Western terminus, you can let the planners know here:

CLICK HERE for the link to the HARBOUR HOPES consultation.

Personally I feel it would be excellent to have the UK’s only standard gauge city-centre steam railway linking two of the most exciting urban regeneration areas (Western Harbour and Wapping Wharf), providing a genuine transport link on running days as well as serving as both an educational and entertainment amenity with a ‘living history’ link to Bristol’s heritage.

In the consultation, question 6 allows you to submit your own comments. If anyone is interested, these are my hopes for the Harbour:
“As a local resident, the key thing that means a great deal to me is the integration of the Bristol Harbour Railway into the Western Harbour development.
The BHR has not been able to use the station on this site for several years (due to Metrobus construction and river wall repairs) but is soon to make a return.
I feel that the opportunity for the UK’s only standard gauge city-centre steam railway to directly connect two of the most exciting urban regeneration projects (Western Harbour and Wapping Wharf) is not to be missed.
The railway is operated by volunteers who take great pride in their work and there is a real community spirit to the operation which can be built upon.
On operating days it can provide a genuine transport link whilst at the same time a link to Bristol’s industrial heritage, entertaining and educating at the same time.
It would be a great shame to lose this opportunity if the railway line were to be built upon. I believe the railway management should be brought on-board in advising how the integration could work.”

Easter Running and Photos from 1950s Weekend

The BHR is running steam trains this Easter on Sat/Sun/Mon, all being well both Portbury and Henbury should be out.

Here is a little photo album from the 1950s weekend, where we got the working exhibits out again to demonstrate activity and cargo handling on the quayside. The M Shed exhibits and volunteers were joined by vehicles from The Shopland Collection and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Purnell’ from The Show of Strength Theatre Company.
Thanks to Chloe Little and Bob Edwardes for these photos.

Loco and Crane Driving Experiences

Portbury is out on the quayside this week as part of the chance for members of the public to try driving a steam loco and an electric crane.

Find out more and book an experience here

The M Shed website states:
Our one-to-one tuition gives you the thrill of being the driver whilst testing your skill in controlling the hook.

After taking both machines for a spin, you’ll receive a certificate of achievement.

Timeslots are available every 40 minutes. Please report to reception 15 minutes before your allocated time slot where a buddy will show you to the working area.

Price is £50 per person

Docks Heritage Weekend 2021

It’s been a week since the first public outing for the working exhibits in over a year, Docks Heritage Weekend. What a blast! So great to have the volunteers working with the public again. Both Portbury and Henbury were on display and the capstan was back in operation both days, and crane 30 was kept busy loading and unloading the lorry.
Quayside operations were bolstered with audience interaction from the Show of Strength Theatre company.
Thanks for Bob, Bruce and the M Shed social media channels for these photos of the weekend.

Docks Heritage Weekend is back – 9th & 10th October

The active fleet seen outside the shed today as ‘Portbury’ warms up ahead of DOCKS HERITAGE WEEKEND making a comeback after the pandemic.

Activities at M Shed
Trips on electric crane No.31 (charges apply)
Trips on the John King tug (charges apply)
Cargo handling demonstrations with Crane 30 and the electric capstan
Dramatic interludes from Show of Strength Theatre Company exploring characters from the docks’ past, Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Visit the Fairbairn steam crane
Trips to see a stationary steam locomotive (charges apply) – Portbury is rostered for this
Visit the Bristol Port Company stand
See a Bristol Steam Navigation Company display
Events at SS Great Britain
Pre-booked free tours of the Albion Dock
Brunel Institute will be open (free) between 11am to 3pm on both days for visitors to drop in to meet a curator and see some of the collection objects celebrating Bristol’s docks heritage
Victorian street games on Brunel Square on Saturday
Shanty Festival performances on Brunel Square on Sunday
‘Mr Brunel’ will be on Brunel Square both days
Photography festival ‘Opening Up’ on Brunel Square both days
Activities at Underfall Yard
Demonstrations of traditional blacksmithing skills
Appreciate engineering in miniature with model steam engines and workshops
Discover the tools of yesteryear with the Tools and Trades History Society
Try your hand at nautical knots
Watch the pumps that powered a port running throughout the weekend
See our magnificent machinery workshops in action
Enjoy songs of the sea performed by several sea shanty groups as part of Bristol Shanty Festival (Sunday only).

See you there!




https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/docks-heritage-weekend/

John King’s Wheelhouse Lift

Back at the start of the month, Crane 30 was used to lift off the wheelhouse to Bristol tug ‘John King’ so it can have some tender loving care.

Thanks to Bob Edwardes for these photos!
Bob says “Whilst up the crane I also had a cracking view of the recently restored Thames sailing barge (S.B. Gladys) making her way from Gloucester back to London via Bristol Harbour.”

Andy King

With great sadness I report that Andy King, curator of Bristol Industrial Museum and M Shed, passed away this week. The jibs of cranes 31 and 32 have been lowered and crossed in honour of Andy’s work.
Andy joined Bristol Museum’s curatorial team 40 years ago. Part of the group tasked with getting ‘Mayflower’ back into working order, he went on to become the driving force behind many of the working exhibits and ensuring that they continue to entertain and educate thousands of people for years to come.
He will be greatly missed by all the volunteers and staff.

AFRPS visit to the BHR

A recent visit to M Shed and the BHR (under supervision and within Covid restrictions) by members of the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society. Thanks to Andrew and Chris for taking the time to visit and do the write-up!

Last week, after a few discussions, 2 of our members visited the currently closed Bristol Harbour railway whilst on holiday. This unusual railway is part of the M Shed (Bristol Museums group). Based in L shed as part of the transport division, the L shed team look after all forms of transport items owned by the M Shed. We were greeted by Chris and taken through the transport section (including the first Concorde crew cabin mockup) to the locomotive workshop.
Currently stored at the main shed are locomotives “Henbury” (Peckett No.1940 of 1937), “Portbury” (Avonside No.1764 of 1917) and the Coles rail crane (14090). Portbury and the Coles Crane are both operational.
“Henbury” is an 0-6-0 Peckett locomotive and has just been rebuilt and testing is on-going. “Portbury” is one of “Cranford”‘s Avonside sisters. Being an early type of the same design but with a curved saddle tank instead of flat sides.
Also part of the collection is Fox Walker (No.242 of 1874) completing a collection of locomotives built in Bristol, in Bristol! And finally aRuston Hornsby 165dm “the bug” (418792 of 1959) however these two are stored in a different location.
The railway usually operates with a Conflat and BR Bogie Bolster E later rebuilt as a Turbot ballast wagon, both modified to carry passengers, followed up with a toad brake van. And on special occasions, demonstration freights are operated. The railway hopes to reopen this year in September/August however much of the track needs work and reopening may not take place until 2022. We kindly thank Chris Ecclestone, Corwin , and the team at the M Shed for allowing us this private visit and have given a donation to support the railway. If you would like to visit like us, contact the M Shed by email. Alternatively you can wait until the railway reopens, Or you might like to volunteer. If so you again contact the M shed. You can find more information on https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/

Cranes ready for paint

The four electric cranes have been moved down to the Prince Street end of the quayside in readiness for painting. This should help protect them for years to come, as you can imagine painting something of this size is no easy task!

These 2 photos courtesy Bob Edwardes

In order for this to happen, the M Shed station platform had to be moved down to the far end of the quay, near the cafe. Here it is midway through reassembly (while the cranes were being moved).