June 2022 Update

Both locos are back in steam this coming weekend, and last Saturday/Sunday saw the steam crane in operation for the first time this year.

Chris and Mike coaling up the steam crane (Bill Drewett)

On the 3rd train on Saturday of Platinum Jubilee weekend, ‘Henbury’ blew out a gasket on the main steam pipe to the right hand cylinder. It was taken off the passenger train and sent up the branch to diagnose the issue before heading back to the shed.

‘Portbury’ worked push-pull services for the rest of the day as we waited for the Peckett to cool down enough to work on.
This involved clearing out all the ash from the smokebox, then chiselling out the cement from the smokebox floor (which is used to vacuum-seal it and prevent it drawing air through the front end).
The pipe was removed and the broken seal extracted so it could be used as a template to make a fresh one.
Once this was done, the whole lot was bolted back together and left to seal overnight.
Sunday morning a fire was lit and the loco brought back up to 50psi to test for any leaks, this having been satisfactory Chris was able to re-seal the smokebox with quick-drying cement.
Henbury rejoined the passenger train that morning which was a very satisfying result for the team.
It was my first real experience of locomotive repair and what happens when things go awry, so for me it was an education!

At the same time, the opportunity was taken to take the rear drawhook off and send it to the workshop to have the screw thread mended. The thread had been worn flat on top, preventing the nut from being tightened as much as we wanted it to be. Now it is tight against the bufferbeam.

Bob Edwardes took these pics over the weekend featuring the custom headboards he made for the locos.

Farewell to 66045

In December 2021 we said goodbye to ex-PBA, ex-LMS open wagon No.66045. After years spent looking rather forlorn in the yard it is going to a new home at the Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn. It is due to be restored and placed in the re-laid standard gauge siding at Wharf station to demonstrate how slate was once transferred from the 2’3″ gauge stock to the rest of the network.

Crane 32 undertook the lift with ease thanks to its 10 ton rating. Thanks to Bob Edwardes for the photos.

Pannier on Princes Wharf c.1952

With thanks to a member of the Avon Valley Railway group who passed on this photo via Bob Edwardes.
Believed to have been taken by Rex Coffin in around 1952 (judging by the fact that Crane 32 looks brand new) it shows 5700 class pannier tank No. 7790 at the head of a train of loaded conflats on the quayside line.
The loco is still in faded G W R livery and has a GW shunters’ truck attached to the front.
On the extreme right of the photo it looks as though a road wagon is parked across what is now the main running line.
In the background to the left can be seen the crane whose pedestal still stands at the edge of Lloyds Amphitheatre.

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.

Henbury’s Fire is Lit

Work on Henbury progresses as Coronavirus restrictions are relaxed. The majority of the loco has been reassembled and today it was pulled out of the shed to have a warming fire lit. Over the next few days the loco will steadily be brought up to pressure and every joint checked.

Thanks to Rob Skuse for the photos and information.

GWR 1338 at the BHR (2000)

On 8th July 2000, visiting loco No.1338, built by Kitson for the Cardiff Railway and later absorbed into the GWR, was used in a photo charter down the New Cut branch. This locomotive is now based at Didcot on static display.

1338 rounds the corner at Butterfly Junction (image courtesy Pete Doel, with thanks)

Youtube channel ‘Classic Traction’ published a slideshow of the event.

BHR in 1991 – Video

Nicholas Tozer published this rather lovely video of a blue ‘Portbury’ operating trains in the early 1990s. It’s amazing to see the differences in the background, like the old sidings, the sleeper wall where the flats near SS GB halt now are. Also note the W.Vincent wagon being used for passengers, these days it is back to being a coal wagon.

1998 – A Pug In The Port

In 1998, ex-Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 0F ‘Pug’ No.51218, now based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway but once allocated to Bristol Barrow Road shed, ran on a special photo charter at Bristol Industrial Museum.

Robert Tarling was there to capture the occasion, these are his photos and I am very grateful to Robert for allowing them to be reposted here.
Please click here to see more of Robert’s work