It is dated around 1966-1967 and shows the upper deck of Ashton Avenue Bridge in the process of being dismantled. At this time the lines across the bridge were still double track, the West line was not removed until some time later.
“At one time this bridge over the New Cut was a really extraordinary structure – it had 2 decks, road above rail, & swung, using power supplied from the City Docks hydraulic system. The control cabin was on an elevated structure spanning the roadway. Built by Bristol Corporation & opened in 1906 it allowed the GWR’s line to Wapping Wharf (from Temple Meads) to be extended to serve more wharves, a new goods shed at Canon’s Marsh, & to connect with the Portishead Branch. A swing bridge was needed because the New Cut was used by river traffic to access Bathurst Basin. It was last swung in 1934 & formally fixed in 1951. The roadway & control cabin were removed in 1965-66 as part of major road changes around Cumberland Basin.”
This photo (source unknown) shows the bridge when both decks were in use. Note the tracks crossing left to right to access to other sidings next to A Bond, where the Create Centre car park now is. The diverging line at the bottom of the photo is the one to Canon’s Marsh.
The Bristol – Then and Now facebook page is well worth following if you have an interest in Bristol’s history. Many interesting bits and pieces to be found, including quite a bit of info and pictures on the harbour, and the railways of Bristol.
Roger Baynton posted these images and description today:
Bathurst Basin, view of bridge, engine house and Ostrich Pub.
The 1870s saw the opening for freight services of the Bristol Harbour Railway which ran from Temple meads under St Mary Redcliffe Church to emerge at Bathurst Basin by the Ostrich pub (seen here) and then on to Wapping Wharf
The railway crossed Bathurst lock on a steam-powered bascule (lifting) bridge on the site of the present footbridge, before continuing to Princes Wharf.
The Ostrich Pub in Guinea Street predates 1775. Sorry to contradict an attractive Bristol urban myth but the chamber at the back of the entrance passage, whilst hewn out of the sandstone cliff does not connect to the adjacent Redcliff caves. An whilst I’m in bah humbug mode, the Redcliff caves were not used for ‘storing’ slaves and probably not for smuggling their principal function being to provide raw material for Bristol’s once buoyant glass trade. But that is another story…..
The above diagram (available via the MetroBus website) shows the intentional junction for the guided busway with Cumberland Road, and the re-routing of the harbour railway as a result. The large sweeping curve into Butterfly Junction is gone and replaced with a halt alongside the Bond Warehouse, whilst the ‘Barn’ is retained.
This was the view this morning, the platform in the final stages of removal, and the pointwork rails removed.
The track has been removed as far as the foot crossing to the chocolate path.
Track lifting is well under way at Butterfly Junction, just the pointwork rails and the sleepers remaining in the station area. These photos also show the vegetation clearance that has taken place.
Ashton Avenue Bridge is now closed for refurbishment, along with the former trackbed. No doubt the rails still on the bridge will be coming out shortly.
A different scene over at SS Great Britain Halt, where the buffer stop has been moved from the end of the line here. I believe that this is to be used as the basis for a small shed, which should come in useful if the branch along the New Cut is closed while MetroBus is under construction.
It’s been a while since I’ve done any Throw Back Thursday posts, but with summer just around the corner, there are more to come!
This is a photo from a charter in 2001, during the last days of Ashton Meadows sidings (note the overgrown bushes). The loco is GWR 813, a unique survivor built in 1901 for the Port Talbot Railway in Wales. The 813 fund have given permission for this photo to be reproduced here.
In this first look at the changing face of the Butterfly Junction area, you can see the extensive clearance of foliage that has taken place. Surveyors have been working in the area over the past few weeks.
Further down the line, the area around the Cumberland Road Bridge siding has also been cleared. The spare wagon wheelsets have been moved out of the way. The plans for the bridge indicate that the path here will be raised up to platform height in order to meet the new bridge.