Video – Mayflower’s Boiler Lift – April 2020

The 1861-built Steam Tug ‘Mayflower’ takes another step in the progress of its overhaul as the boiler is lifted back into the hull. Assisting in the operation is 1917-built Avonside ‘Portbury’ and 1951-built Stothert and Pitt ‘Crane 32’, both working exhibits and still earning their keep at M Shed Museum. Whilst the superstructure was off I took the opportunity to film some shots of the engine room with natural light, a rare occurrence! The lifting operation was undertaken by a minimum number of volunteers due to the COVID-19 situation and working regulations.

Mayflower’s Boiler Lift

On Thursday 20th August 2020, steam tug ‘Mayflower’s boiler was lifted back into place. As the museum and working exhibits have been closed during the Coronavirus crisis, it was nice to be able to have them alive again. All volunteers taking part were complying with COVID-19 restrictions throughout. The lift went very smoothly, a credit to all involved. Hopefully this means the 159-year old Mayflower can be in steam again soon!

Cranes stand ready in the morning, the weather held out for us thankfully (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes)
‘Portbury’ was in steam again, seen here shunting the yard to enable the boiler to be brought out of the running shed
Crane 32 was in charge of the lift, its higher capacity of 10 tons being ample for the 8-ton boiler
The first task was to lift off ‘Mayflower’s wheelhouse, exposing the engine room below.
‘Portbury’ brought the boiler down to the quayside
The boiler awaiting fitting of the smokebox
The boiler alongside Crane 32, showing the fresh lagging (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes)
The smokebox (which has been renewed with fresh metal to replace rotten parts) fitted to the boiler.
The boiler is eased into ‘Mayflower’ (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes, with thanks)
The boiler is eased into its cradle
Lined up successfully with its mounting points
Crane 32 getting ready to detach from the boiler and lift the superstructure back on (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes, with thanks)
Job done for the day, ‘Portbury’ did some more shunting before heading back to the shed.

40th Anniversary Celebrations (Video)

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.

First operating weekend of 2018 – 10th/11th Feb

The BHR will be in operation tomorrow and Sunday! An early start for an exciting year, and the public debut of the newly overhauled TOAD.

Portbury was out on Thursday shunting the passenger train together.

Henbury’s Overhaul Progresses

Instagram user Alex_4472 took some photos of Henbury under overhaul. This shows the progress being made by the volunteers and staff at M Shed.

The wheels have been scraped back and are in the process of being painted, the tank and frames are also receiving attention.

The last photo shows the chimney used for donations!

Uploaded here with permission.

Docks Heritage Weekend 30th Sept-1st Oct

It’s Docks Heritage Weekend tomorrow and Sunday, featuring a variety of attractions, one of the most varied weekends of the year.

Portbury was warming up outside the shed earlier this week.

Take a look at Will Stratford’s video of last year’s event showing some crane and goods action on the quayside: