By Martin Creese
Down by the waterfront probably conjures up the idea of a nice meal out or drinks in one of the many bars in the city, but for a group of railway photographers the attraction was the other side of the water, by MShed, which many readers may be more familiar with as the Bristol Industrial Museum.
The event, the first of 2017 for ‘30742 Charters’, featured Bristol-built 0-6-0ST Portbury on a short rake of wagons floodlit under the cranes with various cameos being created.
Portbury was built by Avonside as works number 1764, part of an order for nine engines for the War Office and the Inland Waterways and Docks Board (IW&DB) whose grey livery it now carries.
It was delivered in 1917 to help with construction of Portbury shipyard near Bristol. It was acquired by the Bristol Corporation Docks Committee (which became the Port of Bristol Authority) in 1919 and spent its working life at Avonmouth and Portbury docks.
At the end of its working life it was donated to Bristol’s museum and technology collection. Its most recent overhaul saw a return to service in 2013
and in 2016 it spent the season at Beamish museum, a rather long way from its native Bristol.
What we now know as the Bristol Harbour Railway was built by the Great Western Railway in partnership with Bristol Corporation. The line leaves the Portishead branch at Ashton Junction, and crosses the River Avon over Ashton swing bridge before running alongside the Avon on the new cut, underneath Cumberland Road and onto the dockside.
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