June 2022 Update

Both locos are back in steam this coming weekend, and last Saturday/Sunday saw the steam crane in operation for the first time this year.

Chris and Mike coaling up the steam crane (Bill Drewett)

On the 3rd train on Saturday of Platinum Jubilee weekend, ‘Henbury’ blew out a gasket on the main steam pipe to the right hand cylinder. It was taken off the passenger train and sent up the branch to diagnose the issue before heading back to the shed.

‘Portbury’ worked push-pull services for the rest of the day as we waited for the Peckett to cool down enough to work on.
This involved clearing out all the ash from the smokebox, then chiselling out the cement from the smokebox floor (which is used to vacuum-seal it and prevent it drawing air through the front end).
The pipe was removed and the broken seal extracted so it could be used as a template to make a fresh one.
Once this was done, the whole lot was bolted back together and left to seal overnight.
Sunday morning a fire was lit and the loco brought back up to 50psi to test for any leaks, this having been satisfactory Chris was able to re-seal the smokebox with quick-drying cement.
Henbury rejoined the passenger train that morning which was a very satisfying result for the team.
It was my first real experience of locomotive repair and what happens when things go awry, so for me it was an education!

At the same time, the opportunity was taken to take the rear drawhook off and send it to the workshop to have the screw thread mended. The thread had been worn flat on top, preventing the nut from being tightened as much as we wanted it to be. Now it is tight against the bufferbeam.

Bob Edwardes took these pics over the weekend featuring the custom headboards he made for the locos.

Easter Running and Photos from 1950s Weekend

The BHR is running steam trains this Easter on Sat/Sun/Mon, all being well both Portbury and Henbury should be out.

Here is a little photo album from the 1950s weekend, where we got the working exhibits out again to demonstrate activity and cargo handling on the quayside. The M Shed exhibits and volunteers were joined by vehicles from The Shopland Collection and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Purnell’ from The Show of Strength Theatre Company.
Thanks to Chloe Little and Bob Edwardes for these photos.

Steam Test Success

Photo courtesy Rowena Farr

Pleased to report that the steam fleet passed their insurance inspections/tests this week ready to operate again.
Next week M Shed is doing ‘have a go week’ where you can try your hand at driving a steam loco and an electric crane!

More details:
https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/train-and-crane-driving-experiences/

Pannier on Princes Wharf c.1952

With thanks to a member of the Avon Valley Railway group who passed on this photo via Bob Edwardes.
Believed to have been taken by Rex Coffin in around 1952 (judging by the fact that Crane 32 looks brand new) it shows 5700 class pannier tank No. 7790 at the head of a train of loaded conflats on the quayside line.
The loco is still in faded G W R livery and has a GW shunters’ truck attached to the front.
On the extreme right of the photo it looks as though a road wagon is parked across what is now the main running line.
In the background to the left can be seen the crane whose pedestal still stands at the edge of Lloyds Amphitheatre.

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.