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.
Taking loaded wagons up to the Wharf (John Stanford)
October 1981, in between shunting moves (John Stanford)
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.
‘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, 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): Image is property of Mike Cottam and appears here as a direct link to his flickr page