TBT – The Harbour in 1965

British Pathe’s excellent youtube channel features this clip, of one of the Bristol-based tugs helping the ship VARLA DAN out of the harbour. In the background are plenty of coal wagons in the sidings, this space is now occupied by flats and SS GB Halt. The rails in the foreground were retained and are still visible after the regeneration of this area.

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TBT – Henbury Makes History – Coal Trains in 1981

As previously mentioned on this blog, in 1981, the Western Fuel Co.’s diesel shunter Western Pride was in need of an overhaul. This locomotive was used to shunt wagons on the dockside and into the WFC compound, as well as trip workings along the New Cut to Ashton Meadows sidings, from where a BR loco would take the wagons onto the main line.

So it was that Henbury was hired as the first preserved steam loco to pull scheduled goods trains for British Railways (BR having stopped using steam traction in 1968). She crept onto the Western Fuel Co.’s site at 7am on Monday 28th September 1981 and worked for the next three weeks hauling coal trains of up to 450 tons.

This cinefilm was captured by Bob Edwardes and appears here with permission.

Points of particular interest include running on the main line to Bristol Bath Road engine shed to use the turntable (creating quite a contrast to the BR Blue mainline diesels at Bristol Temple Meads!) and double heading with the PBA Rolls-Royce Sentinel No. 41 (10220) that took over duties from Henbury.

 

TBT – Portbury takes on Foxfield Bank, 2008

At the Foxfield Railway’s 2008 gala, Portbury paid a visit and was given the chance to attack the famous 1-in-19 to 1-in-26 Foxfield Bank, the climb away from Foxfield Colliery itself.

Youtube user ‘Pennysteam’ was there to capture the event (If you like railway videos, be sure to subscribe to pennysteam as their footage is spectacular)

Part 1:

Part 2, Portbury ascends the gradient again at around 5.20:

TBT – Ashton Meadows Sidings

Today’s #throwbackthursday post is about Ashton Meadows sidings.
Ashton Meadows was formerly the exchange yard between the harbour branch and the line from Portishead to the main line at Parson Street junction. It was also the site of a civil engineers depot.

Until 1987, the 0-6-0 Hudswell Clarke diesel shunter ‘Western Pride’ would take loaded wagons from Ashton Meadows, up the New Cut, to the Western Fuel Depot (Behind M and L shed).

In 1983, ‘Western Pride’ broke down, and for 3 weeks, ‘Henbury’ was pressed into service, becoming the first preserved steam loco to haul freight for British Railways since the end of steam in 1968.

This was the view from the A3029 overbridge on a misty morning in February 1980. These pictures appear with the kind permission of Kevin Redwood.

37302 is running round the loaded 21t hoppers, the empties are ready for the return trip, 11:2:80
37302 is running round the loaded 21t hoppers, the empties are ready for the return trip. On the left is the building that later became ‘Megabowl’, and is now the site of Paxton Drive apartments. The area of the former sidings was levelled for the use of construction equipment and site offices.

The Western Fuel Company Hudswell pilot (ex PBA No. D1171) takes the loaded hoppers to Wapping Wharf, 11:2:80.
‘Western Pride’ takes the loaded hoppers out of Ashton Meadows and on toward the docks. This loco is now preserved and currently in storage in the midlands.

The trackbed here is now a foot and cycle path leading across Ashton Avenue Bridge, and the route of the proposed Metrobus guided busway.

Whapping Wharf Building work update – March 2014

Work is forging ahead next door to M Shed, on the Wapping Wharf housing scheme. This includes the resurfacing of the square outside the engine shed, seen here:

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The disused loop line has been cut into for drainage.

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This scene is soon to change drastically, with the roadway being taken alongside the running line, to a new level crossing just out of sight.

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‘Container city’ on the right.

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