Avonmouth Docks

Please note that I am trying to piece together information from multiple sources for this page so it is very much a work in progress.

The Avonmouth Docks system utilised a large motive power stud, mainly consisting of locomotives constructed in Bristol by Avonside or Peckett.

G.H.G. Crump and P.H. Howlett. Locomotives of the Port of Bristol Authority, Avonmouth. 285-6. 2 illustrations
Bristol Corporation took over the docks in 1884 and made extensions. 10% of grain. 30% of banana, 35% of tobacco United Kingdom imports came through Avonmouth. There were 60 miles of track, 29 locomotives and 635 railway vehicles. Bristol was manufactured by Fox, Walker at the Atlas Works, an 0-6-0ST WN 180/1873. This was followed by WN 280/1875 Alexander. Fox Walker was taken over by Peckett & Sons which became the main supplier. Peckett WN 458/1887 was named Harold and this was followed by WN 466/1887 Lionel and WN 586/1894 Lawrence and by Avonside WN 1371/1896 Leslie. Peckett WN 808/1900 Kenneth, Avonside WN 1431/1901 Francis, Peckett WN 1006/1904 Murray, WN 1093/1907 Ronald, WN 1243/1910 Strathcona and WN 1244/1910 Mackenzie latter illustrated (these last were fitted with the vacuum brake to enable passenger stock to be worked). WN 1264/1913 Henry and WN 1377/1914 Edward were like the earlier Peckett engines. Avonside WN 1679/1914 Alfred was similar to the earlier Avonside purchases in dimensions, but modernised. During WW1 five powerful Avonside 0-6-0STs were acquired: WN 1724/1915 Hudson, WN 1725/1915 William, WN 1764/1917 Portbury; WN 1799/1917 Brian and WN 1800/1918 Percy. In 1926 a further Peckett was acquired WN 1721 (presumably of 1915) and named Fyffe and in 1934 WN 1877-8 were bought and named Westbury and Ashton

-From The Locomotive Magazine and Railway Carriage and Wagon Review 
Volume 42 (1936)

‘Bristol’ (Fox, Walker No.180 of 1873) – 0-6-0ST

‘Alexander’ (Fox, Walker No.280 of 1875) – 0-6-0ST

‘Harold’ (Peckett No.458 of 1887)

‘Lionel’ (Peckett No.466 of 1889) – 0-6-0ST

Photo courtesy Paul Townsend (Brizzlebornandbred)

‘Lawrence’ (Peckett No.586 of 1894) – 0-6-0ST

‘Leslie’ (Avonside No.1371 of 1896) – Similar to ‘Alfred’ below

‘Kenneth’ (Peckett No.808 of 1900) – 0-6-0ST

‘Francis’ (Avonside No.1431/1901) – Similar to ‘Alfred’ below

‘Murray’ (Peckett No.1006/1904)

‘Ronald’ (Peckett No.1093/1907)

Strathcona’ (Peckett No. No.1243 of 1910) – 0-6-0ST – Similar to ‘Henry’ and ‘Edward’ but with higher boiler pitch

‘Mackenzie’ (Peckett No.1244 of 1910) – 0-6-0ST – Similar to ‘Henry’ and ‘Edward’ but with higher boiler pitch

It is believed that ‘Mackenzie’ was given a new boiler in 1955, but in 1960 was dismantled and the boiler fitted to ‘Henbury’.

‘Henry’ (Peckett No.1264 of 1913) – 0-6-0ST

‘Edward’ (Peckett No.1377 of 1914) – 0-6-0ST

‘Alfred’ (Avonside No.1679 of 1914) – 0-6-0ST

S1 ‘Hudson’ (Avonside No.1724 of 1915) – 0-6-0ST

S2 ‘William’ (Avonside No.1725 of 1915) – 0-6-0ST

S3 ‘Portbury’ (Avonside No.1764 of 1917) – 0-6-0ST

S4 ‘Percy’ (Avonside No.1800 of 1918) – 0-6-0ST

S5 ‘Brian’ (Avonside No.1799 of 1918) – 0-6-0ST

S6 ‘Fyffe’ (Peckett No.1721 of 1926) – 0-6-0ST

S7 ‘Ashton’ (Peckett No.1878 of 1934) – 0-6-0ST

S8 ‘Westbury’ (Peckett No.1877 of 1934) – 0-6-0ST

S9 ‘Henbury’ (Peckett No.1940 of 1937) – 0-6-0ST

‘Henbury’ is believed to have been fitted with ‘Mackenzie’s boiler in 1960, at the same time gaining the distinctive curved smokebox front similar to ‘Ashton’. It seems that the cab and tank fronts were lined out at the same time.

S10 ‘Hallen’ (Peckett No.2035 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST

Vacuum fitted to work passenger trains.

S11 ‘Bristol’ (Peckett No.2036 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST

Vacuum fitted to work passenger trains.

S12 ‘Clifton’ (Peckett No.2037 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST

Vacuum fitted to work passenger trains.

S13 ‘Redland’ (Peckett No.2038 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST

Vacuum fitted to work passenger trains.

YouTube channel Unseen Steam posted this video of a railtour visit to Avonmouth in 1963.

On 21st July 1963 the RCTS ran what has been described as a “chaotic” railtour (not their fault) from Paddington to the Bristol area behind ‘Grange” class no. 6841 “Marlas Grange” which got the train to the Docks almost bang on time after a good run down the GWR main line to Swindon and then the connection to the Docks at Hallen Marsh Junction. In the Docks the train was worked by one of the Port of Bristol Authority’s tank locomotives, no S11 “Bristol”. All went well until the train was due to leave the Docks which took place around half an hour late. Further troubles ensued, with the train returning to London some one and a half hours late – many passengers had detrained at Stroud to try and find a quicker train home! (Information from http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk, with thanks to Gary Thornton)


The ‘S’ prefix was added to the loco numbers in 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.

The Hudswell Clarke diesels included:

No.17 ‘Camelot’ (works No.D755 built in 1952) 0-6-0DM

Works No.D756 built in 1952 0-6-0DM

Works No.D757 built in 1952 0-6-0DM

D2001 ‘Norman’ (works No.D774 built in 1948) 0-4-0DM

D2002/No.22 ‘Arthur’ (works No.D760 built in 1949) 0-6-0DM

Vacuum fitted to work passenger trains.

D2003/No.23 ‘Merlin’ (works No.D761 built in 1951) 0-6-0DM

Vacuum fitted to work passenger trains.

Sold in 1971 to R. O. Hodgson Ltd. of the English China Clay Group where it was used at their general warehouse at Carnforth, Lancashire. In 1985 it was sold to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire, initially as source of spares for another loco, but has since been preserved in its own right, although currently out of use awaiting overhaul.

D2004 ‘Lancelot’ – (works No.D851 built in 1952) 0-6-0DM

D3001 ‘Tintagel’ (works No.D754 built in 1952) 0-6-0DM

Sold to Guest Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd. Tremorfa Works, Cardiff October 1966. Retained its name, but the running number became 378. Sold for scrap to Birds (Swansea) Ltd. Cardiff 1972. The name was then transferred onto 0-6-0DE Yorkshire Engine 2633 of 1957.

D1001 ‘Gordano’ – (works No.D894 built in 1953) 0-4-0DM

D2005 ‘Celidon’ (works No.D915 built in 1953) 0-6-0DM

D2006/No.26 ‘Dubglas’ (works No.D916 built in 1953) 0-6-0DM

D2007 ‘Tribruit’ (works No.D917 built in 1953) 0-6-0DM

D2008 ‘Guinnion’ (works No.D918 built in 1953) 0-6-0DM

D2009 ‘Agned’ (works No.D919 built in 1953) 0-6-0DM

No. 30 (works No.D1171 built in 1959) 0-6-0DM – Sold to Western Fuel Co. where it was named ‘Western Pride’ and worked on the Wapping Wharf line. Now preserved and undergoing restoration in Warwickshire.

No.31 (works No.D1172 built in 1958) 0-6-0DM – later sold to Strood Coal Concentration Depot from where it was withdrawn and scrapped some time after 1984.

No.32 (works No.D1192 built in 1959) 0-6-0DM

No.33 (works No.D1193 built in 1959) 0-6-0DM

In 1965 a fleet of 8 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 included:

PBA 34

PBA 37

PBA 38 (works No.10217) – sold to Tunnel Cement before the closure of the Avonmouth railway system.

PBA 39 – now preserved on the nearby East Somerset Railway, and has recently been restored to its original PBA livery.

PBA 40

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 on the East Somerset Railway.

The Sentinels worked right up until the closure of the Avonmouth Docks Railway system in 1983.


The photographs on this page (Unless otherwise stated) were purchased from the Rail Correspondance and Travel Society’s website and John Chalcraft and contributors to RailPhotoPrints.uk

They appear here for research purposes only and may not be used for profit or gain without permission. 

Many thanks to http://www.leedsengine.info/ for information on the Hudswell Clarke diesels.