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 Finished in smart blue livery, they were direct replacements for the steam locos, which were withdrawn shortly afterward.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. 

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Portbury in Preservation

Avonside No. 1764 ‘Portbury’ was built in 1917 for the war effort, destined to work at the Portbury shipyards. The end of the war in 1918 meant the shipyard never actually built a vessel.
She eventually moved into the fleet of shunters based in Avonmouth and worked there until replaced by diesels.

Here are a few photos from across the internet of her life in preservation.

In the early 1970s, all three of the BHR’s steam locomotives were to be found at Radstock station in Somerset. This was part of a preservation effort to save and operate a section of the Somerset and Dorset Railway.

Here she is outside the shed, looking rather forlorn.
26
Source: http://www.geoffspages.co.uk/raildiary/radstock.htm

and another pic inside the shed next to 7F 53808

Portbury sharing space in Radstock Shed

Portbury sharing space in Radstock Shed

Unfortunately, the project at Radstock was unsuccessful and the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust relocated to Washford on the West Somerset Railway.
‘Henbury’, ‘Portbury’ and No. 242 found their way to the Bristol Harbour Railway, opened in 1978.

‘Portbury’s restoration was completed in Bristol and she was in brought into operation on the BHR.
Here she is in lined blue livery back in 1992.

Porbury-Blue-1992

Original source:
http://www.geolocation.ws/v/W/File%3APortbury%202.jpg/-/en

and in operation in 1996
portbury-1996-blue-flickr

Source: http://bit.ly/1erjN1L

After another overhaul, she emerged in 2001 in a livery akin to the one she first wore, the initials ‘I W & D’ stand for ‘Inland Waterways and Docks’.

portbury-2001

Source: http://www.bristoljpg.co.uk/2004/portbury.jpg

Now, in 2013, this livery has been adapted to more accurately represent her 1917 condition – note the lack of nameplate (She was not named ‘Portbury’ until her time at Avonmouth Docks) and the black wheels.
IMG_1595