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.


Hudswell Clarke D1171 ‘Western Pride’

‘Western Pride’ was a former Port of Bristol Authority loco, and from the 1970s to 1987, it took loaded coal wagons from Ashton Meadows to Wapping Wharf sidings and the Coal Depot (Western Fuels) there, and returned empty wagons to the sidings.
As loaded coal wagons left overnight had a tendency to get vandalised, there was a secure storage compound at the coal depot, where the loco and wagons were stored overnight.
Western Fuels ex PBA 0-6-0 D1171 standing at Wapping Wharf, 17:7:79
Western Fuels ex PBA 0-6-0 D1171 standing at Wapping Wharf, July 1979 (Courtesy Kevin Redwood)

D.1171 made her last trip along the BHR in May 1987, on an overnight move to the coal depot at Filton. She has since been sold into preservation, and after a period in store outside at MOD Long Marston (As seen in this picture by Cliff Jones Photography), restoration has begun, as seen here (March 2013):
D1171 Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0DM  - Long Marston 23.03.13
Image is property of Mike Cottam and appears here as a direct link to his flickr page

Locomotive No.3 – (Fox, Walker and Company No. 242)

A little known and lesser-spotted member of the M Shed Collection is Fox, Walker and Company 0-6-0ST Locomotive Number 242.

Built in 1874, it is the oldest of the three steam locomotives, being 43 years older than ‘Portbury’ (and 63 years older than ‘Henbury’!) and enables the museum to represent all the major engine builders in the Bristol area.

Fox, Walker and Company was taken over by Thomas Peckett in 1880 and became Peckett and Sons, the builders of ‘Henbury’ and her sisters.

242 was the first locomotive to arrive in the museum’s collection. It was donated by the National Coal Board in 1962, having previously worked at Mountain Ash Colliery in Wales, where it was No.3.

These two photographs were spotted for sale on ebay, unfortunately only the thumbnails were available to view online. They show 242 while still at Mountain Ash.


This photo is copyright Malcolm Williams and was found on steamlocomotive.info It shows NCB Mountain Ash No.3 in detail before departing for Preservation.

This photo is copyright Malcolm Williams and was found on steamlocomotive.info
It shows NCB Mountain Ash No.3 in detail before departing for Preservation.

Prior to the preserved BHR opening in 1978, she, along with ‘Henbury’ and ‘Portbury’, was to be found at Radstock Station. This was the hub of the initiative to re-open a section of the famous S and D route, spearheaded by the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust. As previously mentioned, the SDRT moved to Washford station on the WSR in 1976.
Geoff Cryer took these pictures of 242 in the shed at Radstock in September 1975.

Source: http://www.geoffspages.co.uk/raildiary/radstock.htm and http://www.geoffspages.co.uk/monorail/gc01.htm

When the Radstock project was disbanded, Number 242 went to Bitton (on what is now the Avon Valley Railway) between 1977 and 1986, when she returned to Bristol and was stored in L Shed.
As preparations were made for Bristol Industrial Museum’s conversion into M Shed Museum, the locomotive was made ready to move to another secure location.

Larry the Loader tows 242 out of the workshop.

Photo courtesy Rob Skuse
Source: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.198379386934483&type=1

As for the future, at nearly 140 years old, there are no current plans to return 242 to steam. Her current storage space may be repurposed due to planned development, so a move might be on the cards. Watch this space…