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.
The Coles crane is moved out first as part of the shunt
With the crane out of the way, the Ruston couples up
‘For Sale’ – very funny!
Pinholes in the tank give an idea as to the thickness of the metal
The view from the Ruston’s footplate as it drags the Victorian locomotive out
Gently eased out on to the running line
Out on the New Cut – the furthest the loco has been in a long time
‘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.
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
Shunting two vans off the inspection pit
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.
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).
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.
In order to rearrange the two saddle tanks, and to get ‘Henbury’ over the inspection pit, it was necessary to do some shunting using the Ruston diesel shunter, not often seen on the line.
The Ruston itself was in the ‘Barn’, behind the line’s self-propelled crane.
The crane shunts the coal wagon back out of the way.
With a growl and a puff of smoke, the Ruston creeps out of the barn, collects the two vans (Which double up as a good way of preventing people falling into the pit), and deposits them back outside the shed before heading down to M Shed.
Dragging the two steam locos out, Portbury deposited in the siding while Henbury heads to the pit.
Henbury is pushed back into the shed first….
and Portbury basks in the sun
This week, she’s been treated to warming fires to test the boiler for any leaks. Sunday saw her courting attention on the quayside.