Portbury on the Avon Valley Railway – Photos and Video

Last weekend, Portbury was one of the visiting guest engines at the Avon Valley Railway’s ‘Industrial Roots’ gala. Also in attendance were Manning Wardle ‘Charwelton’ (from the Kent and East Sussex Railway), as well as ‘Austerity’ tank ‘Sapper’ and Polish-built TKh ‘Karel’.

Here are a few pics and vids from various places on the internet. Highlights included goods trains, and a quadruple header at the end of the day!

Adam Ashford captured these photos and video.

YouTube user SDJR7F88 got this smashing video:

Kenny Felstead got this nice snap of Portbury on the climb up to Bitton.

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Harbour Festival 2015 Photos

‘Teddy’ and ‘Judy’ are working again this weekend – Teddy is glimpsed here shunting on the quayside earlier today.

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Steve Cockram took these great photos of the Harbour Festival weekend which not only show the attractions on show, but also showcase a lot of M Shed’s Bristol-built displays. He’s kindly given permission to reproduce the photos here, you can also check out his facebook page for more!

 

 

Portbury is going to Beamish!

As announced on the Beamish Transport Online blog, in early 2015, Portbury is going further North than she has ever gone before. For the first part of the 2015 season, IW&D 34 will be the steam loco in use at Rowley station, part of the Beamish open air museum.

As the loco was built for the war effort in 1917, it is an apt choice of motive power as the museum will be themed around the First World War during February half term.

Very exciting news!

Steam in action at Beamish’s Rowley Station

 

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.
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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.
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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).
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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.

Portbury Overhaul Update 6

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.

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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.

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Dragging the two steam locos out, Portbury deposited in the siding while Henbury heads to the pit.

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Henbury is pushed back into the shed first….

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and Portbury basks in the sun

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This week, she’s been treated to warming fires to test the boiler for any leaks. Sunday saw her courting attention on the quayside.

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