The Fox, Walker sees daylight

In May 2014, a shunting move to get rolling stock out of the Smeaton Road shed and into the rebuilt ‘Barn’ saw Fox, Walker and Sons No.242 (NCB No.3) out in the open air. This loco had new bearings fitted before the rebuild of M Shed in 2006, so is a rolling chassis and can be moved around.

The photos also give an indication as to the condition of the loco, and the scale of any restoration that might take place.

These pictures were taken by Michelle Scoplin of the Create Centre and appear here with her kind permission.

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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.

 

The Engines of Avonmouth

The Avonmouth Docks system utilised a large motive power stud, mainly consisting of locomotives constructed in Bristol by Avonside or Peckett. In 1939, there were some 28 steam locomotives in the fleet.

The steam fleet included (But was not limited to):

S1 ‘Hudson’ (Avonside 1724 of 1915) – 0-6-0ST
S2 ‘William’ (Avonside 1725 of 1915) – 0-6-0ST
S3 ‘Portbury’ (Avonside 1764 of 1917) – 0-6-0ST
S4 ‘Percy’ (Avonside 1800 of 1918) – 0-6-0ST
S5 ‘Brian’ (Avonside 1799 of 1918) – 0-6-0ST
S6 ‘Fyffe’ (Peckett 1721 of 1926) – 0-6-0ST
S7 ‘Ashton’ (Peckett 1878 of 1934) – 0-6-0ST
S8 ‘Westbury’ (Peckett 1877 of 1934) – 0-6-0ST
S9 ‘Henbury’ (Peckett 1940 of 1937) – 0-6-0ST
S10 ‘Hallen’ (Peckett 2035 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
S11 ‘Bristol’ (Peckett 2036 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
S12 ‘Clifton’ (Peckett 2037 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST
S13 ‘Redland’ (Peckett 2038 of 1943) – 0-6-0ST

‘Lionel” (Peckett No.466 of 1889) – 0-6-0ST

‘Henry’ (Peckett 1264 of 1913) – 0-6-0ST

‘Strathcona’ (Peckett No. 1243 of 1910) – 0-6-0ST



The ‘S’ prefix was added to the loco numbers by the early 1960s as diesel traction was introduced, as well as the addition of the distinctive red and white striped bufferbeams.

At first a small batch of Hudswell Clarke diesels were purchased, of which D1171 ‘Western Pride’ (Later sold to Western Fuel Co., now preserved) was one. Another, No.23 ‘Merlin’ is preserved at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire, although currently out of use awaiting overhaul.

ex-PBA No.23 'Merlin' (D.2003) on the KWVR (Helena via Wikipedia)

ex-PBA No.23 ‘Merlin’ (D.2003) on the KWVR (Helena via Wikipedia)

In 1965 a fleet of Sentinel shunters came to the port. Finished in smart blue livery, they were direct replacements for the steam locos, which were withdrawn shortly afterward.

The Sentinels worked right up until the closure of the Avonmouth Docks Railway system in 1983.

Sentinel PBA 39 is now preserved on the nearby East Somerset Railway, and has recently been restored to its original PBA livery. Also on the East Somerset Railway is PBA 42, also known as ‘Eric’, which went on to work for La Farge in Westbury, before being preserved in 2007, and is currently awaiting restoration.

PBA 39 on the ESR (T. Dalton)

PBA 39 on the ESR (T. Dalton)

The photographs on this page (Unless otherwise stated) were taken by Jack Faithfull  and purchased from the Rail Correspondance and Travel Society’s website. They appear here for research purposes only and may not be used for profit or gain without permission. 

‘The Bug’ – Ruston 0-4-0DM

‘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.
IMG_1143
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 Headlight and Makers' Plate

The Headlight and Makers’ Plate

Shunting two vans off the inspection pit

Shunting two vans off the inspection pit

Shunting the two operational steam locos into the shed

Shunting the two operational steam locos into the shed

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.
622px-Seabank1

Seabank2

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).
IMG_1093

TBT – Another Ruston at Canon’s Marsh

While the BHR currently operates the ex-British Gas shunter (Known as ‘The Bug’), this isn’t the first Ruston & Hornsby Diesel to have worked on the docks railways in Bristol.
In July 1952, just over the water at the Bristol Gas Company’s works at Canon’s Marsh (Now the site of luxury new build and re-build flats), a 4-wheel diesel mechanical shunter is at work.

This photo is reposted from Rail Photoprints and can be purchased at this link.

TBT – Steam meets diesel on the wharf


In this photo found on the Bristol Railway Archive, ‘Henbury’ complete with full yellow end and bufferbeam, meets ‘Western Pride’ on Whapping wharf circa 1981.
The diesel loco is standing on what is now the long siding in the yard. This photo also illustrates the industrial backdrop of the early days of the Harbour Railway, quite a contrast to the contemporary view.