Thanks to Archie Beale for these photos of Portbury ex-works in either 1988-89 or the 1990s doing passenger trips on the harbourside.
‘The Bug’ is the nickname for the green Ruston & Hornsby diesel shunter based on the railway.
The loco is not fitted with vacuum brakes so cannot haul passenger trains, but is one of the most useful bits of kit on the railway, along with Larry the Loader and the Self Propelled Crane. As a diesel loco, the time required to start up is a fraction of the that required to bring a steam engine up to working pressure, you just switch it on and go! This means it can be used to shunt wagons and locos about on non-operating days.
0-4-0 refers to the 4 coupled wheels, and the DM stands for Diesel Mechanical, meaning the engine drives the wheels through a mechanical transmission, rather than hydraulic or with electric traction motors as found on most modern locos.
The locomotive, like most of the rolling stock in the museum’s collection, has a local connection. For many years it worked at the British Gas site in Hallen Marsh near Avonmouth, and it was there that these two photos were taken.
These photographs are linked here from the Bristol Rail Archive site and are the property of Mike P.
The loco was donated to the museum by British Gas in 1995. It was subsequently repainted green with red motion and bufferbeams, and given a fictional shedplate (82 was the Bristol area shed code under BR).
Avonside No. 1764 ‘Portbury’ was built in 1917 for the war effort, destined to work at the Portbury shipyards. The end of the war in 1918 meant the shipyard never actually built a vessel.
She eventually moved into the fleet of shunters based in Avonmouth and worked there until replaced by diesels.
Here are a few photos from across the internet of her life in preservation.
In the early 1970s, all three of the BHR’s steam locomotives were to be found at Radstock station in Somerset. This was part of a preservation effort to save and operate a section of the Somerset and Dorset Railway.
Here she is outside the shed, looking rather forlorn.
and another pic inside the shed next to 7F 53808
Unfortunately, the project at Radstock was unsuccessful and the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust relocated to Washford on the West Somerset Railway.
‘Henbury’, ‘Portbury’ and No. 242 found their way to the Bristol Harbour Railway, opened in 1978.
‘Portbury’s restoration was completed in Bristol and she was in brought into operation on the BHR.
Here she is in lined blue livery back in 1992.
After another overhaul, she emerged in 2001 in a livery akin to the one she first wore, the initials ‘I W & D’ stand for ‘Inland Waterways and Docks’.
Now, in 2013, this livery has been adapted to more accurately represent her 1917 condition – note the lack of nameplate (She was not named ‘Portbury’ until her time at Avonmouth Docks) and the black wheels.