Before the BHR

Before the Bristol Harbour Railway as we know it today was opened, the locomotives ‘Henbury’ and ‘Portbury’ travelled around a bit, spending some time at Radstock before relocating to Bishop’s Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway.

Whilst looking through the Cornwall Railway Society’s website I found these two photos by Ron Kosys showing the motley collection of industrial locos in 1976.

Click the images to go to the website. The photos are the copyright of Ron Kosys.

Poor Portbury looks in a rough state, Henbury had last been in steam at Radstock in 1973, and would not run again until the opening of the BIM’s line in 1978.

Mayflower’s Boiler Lift

On Thursday 20th August 2020, steam tug ‘Mayflower’s boiler was lifted back into place. As the museum and working exhibits have been closed during the Coronavirus crisis, it was nice to be able to have them alive again. All volunteers taking part were complying with COVID-19 restrictions throughout. The lift went very smoothly, a credit to all involved. Hopefully this means the 159-year old Mayflower can be in steam again soon!

Cranes stand ready in the morning, the weather held out for us thankfully (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes)
‘Portbury’ was in steam again, seen here shunting the yard to enable the boiler to be brought out of the running shed
Crane 32 was in charge of the lift, its higher capacity of 10 tons being ample for the 8-ton boiler
The first task was to lift off ‘Mayflower’s wheelhouse, exposing the engine room below.
‘Portbury’ brought the boiler down to the quayside
The boiler awaiting fitting of the smokebox
The boiler alongside Crane 32, showing the fresh lagging (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes)
The smokebox (which has been renewed with fresh metal to replace rotten parts) fitted to the boiler.
The boiler is eased into ‘Mayflower’ (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes, with thanks)
The boiler is eased into its cradle
Lined up successfully with its mounting points
Crane 32 getting ready to detach from the boiler and lift the superstructure back on (photo courtesy Bob Edwardes, with thanks)
Job done for the day, ‘Portbury’ did some more shunting before heading back to the shed.

BHR in 1991 – Video

Nicholas Tozer published this rather lovely video of a blue ‘Portbury’ operating trains in the early 1990s. It’s amazing to see the differences in the background, like the old sidings, the sleeper wall where the flats near SS GB halt now are. Also note the W.Vincent wagon being used for passengers, these days it is back to being a coal wagon.

Docks Heritage Weekend 2019

DHW took place last weekend, with plenty going on at M Shed, SS Great Britain and Underfall Yard.

On Saturday, the Capstan was also in operation again. This device enables people to move wagons along the quayside without needing a locomotive. I made this video of the Capstan in use back in 2014.

Two electric cranes were also in operation, one giving tours and one loading/unloading goods to and from the lorry and rail vehicles.

 

Docks Heritage Weekend 30th Sept-1st Oct

It’s Docks Heritage Weekend tomorrow and Sunday, featuring a variety of attractions, one of the most varied weekends of the year.

Portbury was warming up outside the shed earlier this week.

Take a look at Will Stratford’s video of last year’s event showing some crane and goods action on the quayside:

 

More photos from the night shoot

Alistair Grieve took these great photos at the recent night photo shoot with Portbury, and has kindly given permission for them to be reproduced here.

You can see all of Ali’s photos on his smugmug site.