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Bristol Harbour Railway - Updates and Goings on

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Corbs, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. Western Venturer

    Western Venturer Member

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    Location:
    Sherborne or Molineux
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As has been said on other posts,there isnt a lot of info on the BHR, just wondering if anybody had a track plan of where the trains actually go to??
     
  2. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    I know not of any official trackplans, but I can help you via the medium of Bing maps (Google maps' view is still pre-M shed and has the old trackplan)
    Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions

    Just copy and paste the co-ordinates into your search bar:

    51.448083, -2.605598
    SS Great Britain Halt - next to Brunel's magnificent ship, the museum is well worth a visit. The old Maritime museum (In between the station and the dry dock) is now home to the project team for the land speed record attempt.

    From here the trains run along the dockside to...
    51.448188, -2.597116
    This is the Wapping Wharf station, outside M shed museum and under the giant cranes that form an iconic part of the harbour area. The museum's boats are moored here as well as the 'Balmoral' in winter

    The main engine shed forms part of M Shed itself, here:
    51.447347, -2.598839
    The workshop has an glass wall, so you can generally see what stock is stored there from outside

    The stock sidings are here:
    51.446879, -2.600341
    Part of the large run round loop in the yard was severed to construct the loco shed known as 'The Barn' when the railway had to vacate M Shed as the latter was being renovated.

    From Whapping Wharf, the train reverses direction, through the yard and under the road bridge, onto the 'New Cut', which diverts the river avon around the floating harbour
    51.446901, -2.605000

    The line down the New Cut runs alongside the road and cycle path (Known as the Chocolate Path). I was told that when the Western Fuel Co. still operated, coal trains could only run down the New Cut at high tide, as otherwise the weight of the train would cause the riverbank to subside!

    The last stop on the line is at the Create Centre
    51.446667, -2.621212
    This lies at the former junction of the North and South Harbour lines (The North line heading through Hotwells to the goods sheds that now form part of @Bristol, and the South line toward Temple Meads station) in between two of the huge tobacco warehouses.

    The harbour line formerly ran across the old swing bridge here, and connected with the Portishead branch at Ashton Gate junction ( 51.440939, -2.625182 ), but the cost of maintaining the bridge was a millstone around the railway's neck, so the run round loop next to Megabowl (Now a housing development) was lifted and the Create Centre station built instead. The line does still run across the bridge, and the trackbed forms a footpath for some of its length.

    I hope that's of use!
     
  3. Western Venturer

    Western Venturer Member

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    Corbs thats brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to do that..I appreciate it..
     
  4. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  5. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    'Evening all.

    A few pics of what's been going on...

    Demolition of the former coal yard/car park is proceeding rapidly. The half of the car park that is left will keep functioning for 18 months, then the bulldozers will move in
    [​IMG]

    The site seen from the mud dock deli toward M/L sheds and the former goods platform (Now roofless as I doubt the olive shed wanted to pay for a roof on a disused platform
    [​IMG]

    About 2 weeks ago an old friend returned to 'The Cathedral', seen through the glass here...
    [​IMG]

    ...and inside the shed here.
    'Portbury has returned from Buckfastleigh after her overhaul, and is being reassembled. It is hoped she will be back in traffic for the Harbour Festival later this summer
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At the time of these photos, 'Henbury' was outside getting steam up for the bank holiday weekend
    [​IMG]

    There are more updates and track modifications up the line toward the SS Great Britain which I hope to report on later in the week.

    That's it for now!
     
  6. jamesd

    jamesd New Member

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    Do the trains still run to the create centre or have the building works put paid to this?
     
  7. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Yep still runs all the way there, BRT2 is still in the planning stages so no guided bus yet (hopefully never).

    The siding the excavator is parked on is no longer in use. I'll draw a track plan one of these days.

    I've started a wordpress blog (which is basically the same as this thread) here:
    http://bristolharbourrailway.wordpress.com/
     
  8. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    2012 saw the double track section from the main yard to SS Great Britain Halt singled. The dock-side line has not been used for years (part of it is used for residents parking and it runs very close to Brunel's Buttery).
    In order to make the road safer for cyclists, the rails on the disused line have been infilled and the set of points at the halt have been removed for re-use elsewhere.
    [​IMG]
    The new layout at SS GB Halt

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A closer look at the end of the disused line

    [​IMG]
    Running line on the right, cycle-friendly route on the left

    Outside M Shed, this sign arrangement provides visitors with information on their surroundings. Unfortunately the placement has meant the track directly outside the museum is now largely out of use
    [​IMG]

    Tragically, in March this year a cyclist lost control and fell into the harbour, 2 bystanders jumped in to help but he died at the scene. The man was a well known charity fundraiser, and was without his personal trainer on a route he was not familiar with, early in the morning.
    This is a very unfortunate occurrence and deeply saddening. Temporary fences have been installed along the quayside outside M Shed while the debate on building permanent barriers is reviewed.
    Link to news story:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-21682878
     
  9. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    I called in at 'The Cathedral' (M Shed MPD) on the way from work today and met Chris, who will be taking on the role of General Manager from David Martin, who has been there since the railway's inception in 1978.
    Chris was repainting much of 'Portbury' as she was being reassembled. The hope is to get her ready in time for the Harbour Festival, but the aim is not to rush unnecessarily as 'Portbury' will be taking over from 'Henbury' as the sole steam locomotive when 'Henbury's boiler ticket expires in July 2014.

    Pics showing the progress:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Cycled down to the quayside in my lunch break as a launch party for Visit Bristol's 'Gromit Unleashed' project was underway.
    Several decorated Gromits were on a flat wagon pulled by 'Henbury'.
    Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park was there being filmed by a tv crew
    IMG_0495.JPG IMG_0496.JPG IMG_0498.JPG
     
  11. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    On Saturday 29th June the BHR team celebrated one of our volunteers' 18th Birthday. 'Henbury' was renamed 'Emily Anne' for the day and wore a 'Birthday Special' headboard.

    Here's a few photos from the day.

    Henbury is dragged out of the shed by the front loader.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v42/Butch/henbury-leaves-shed-2_zps3d345b00.gif

    Morning checks, and the fire is lit.
    [​IMG]

    Some shunting was necessary as the Weltrol wagon used for 'Gromit Unleashed' on Friday needed to be shunted back into the long siding, and the passenger train reassembled.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The birthday girl

    [​IMG]

    Fire
    [​IMG]

    The last service of the day was a special train for volunteers, running down to the Create Centre and back
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At the end of the day, the fire is dropped and Henbury/Emily Anne uses the last of her steam to return to the shed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, 'Portbury's return to service has been delayed a bit. Hopefully she'll be back in steam before the end of the year and ready to take over from her stablemate, as 'Henbury' will be withdrawn for her ten-year overhaul in July 2014.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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  12. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  13. MAPLE CHRIS

    MAPLE CHRIS New Member

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    Whats happenend to the fox walker engine that used to be at the back of the museum
     
  14. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    I believe it is now a rolling chassis under long-term restoration. I've not seen it before!
     
  15. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Member

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    Bolton's Sidings, just behind the running shed!
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    Unless there's been a change it's stored undercover as part of the 'secondary collection' Corbs. DM took a couple of us from Foxfield to have a look at it when I was down last autumn.
     
  16. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Aye, I think I know where it's stored, just not been in there yet :)

    It's Bristol Harbour Festival this weekend, I'll be volunteering on Sunday. Chris informs me it's all hands to the pumps on crowd control, propelling 2 wagons and a brake van down a crowded quayside is usually exciting enough on a normal operating day!

    Maybe should look at getting a bell like 1369 at the SDR....
     
  17. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  18. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    I have to admit, the Bristol Harbour Railway is one of the most exciting heritage lines I've visited, and it'll be a shame if the guided bus way plans ever reach fruition!
     
  19. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    I believe current plans are for the busway to use the trackbed of the harbour branch between Ashton Junction and the old swing bridge over the New Cut (Track on this section was lifted when the bridge was taken out of use), cross the bridge, then join Cumberland Road and run on the road.

    Likelihood is the track plan at the Create Centre station will need to be remodelled. Sadly this means that the chances of the railway joining up with the Portishead branch again will be next to nought.
     
  20. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    I got bored so I photoshopped an aerial pic to show what I meant.

    Proposed guided busway (Orange) comes in from the bottom right (Ashton Junction direction, old BHR trackbed last used in 1996) across the cyclepath, round the back of A-Bond warehouse (on the site of the current station), on the BHR trackbed under the retaining wall, then joining up with Cumberland Road at the top of the picture.

    Mooted route of the BHR (Blue) would be a station up against A-Bond on the North side, with a relocated shed on the currently disused area to the East.

    The underbridge to the left (Which used to take the harbour line around the North side of the floating harbour) is currently gated off and used for stock storage. The BHR would be losing this and a cycleway is planned to go under the road.

    [​IMG]

    The sad thing about the whole affair is that the BHR ceased operations to Ashton Junction a few years before the Portishead line was re-opened, due to the state of the swing bridge, and cut back their operations to the A-Bond and the Create Centre.
    Now, the refurbishment of the bridge is on the cards, but for a guided busway that will effectively block the BHR from rejoining the main line.

    I may have previously linked to this but there are a group of citizens campaigning to stop or re-route the planned busway away from this area.
    Here is their site:
    http://stopbrt2.org.uk/
     

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