Bristol Harbour Railway
Somerset BS1 4RN
The running track, rolling stock and locomotives are all part of the M Shed Working Exhibits. When not running trips, the engines Henbury and Portbury can be seen in the West End Foyer of M Shed. The fleet of historic wagons can be seen in the sidings on Wapping Wharf.
The following is reproduced from the M Shed’s own website:
“Locomotive engineering was a vital industry in Bristol from the late 1830s to the 1950s and we have engines from each of the builders. Two of them provide the power for Bristol Harbour Railway.
Built in the Fishponds area of Bristol in 1917 by the Avonside Engine Co and painted battleship grey, Portbury was taken to work on the construction of the new Portbury shipyard towards the end of World War 1. In 1920 she was moved to Avonmouth Docks where she worked on the internal railway system.
Portbury had a reputation for great strength and in her hey-day it was said that she could ‘pull a town down’. She also had a tendency to move off when unattended – a common problem with steam locomotives with worn parts. Thus she was usually parked between other engines in the Avonmouth shed.
Portbury was joined by Henbury, built at Bristol company Peckett & Sons in 1937. A more powerful engine, Henbury augmented a growing fleet of 40 engines at work in the docks.
When diesel engines took over in the 1960s both engines were selected for the museum. After some years in storage Henbury was overhauled and took part in the opening ceremony of Bristol Industrial Museum in 1978. In 1981, Henbury made railway history as the first preserved steam locomotive to pull scheduled freight on main line rail.
Henbury has pulled hundreds of thousands of visitors on trips on Bristol Harbour Railway since 1978, joined in 1988 by Portbury. Henbury starts a period of rest and overhaul after July 2014, but train rides will continue with Portbury in charge.” Duties will be shared with visiting steam locomotive Judy, formerly used at the Port of Par, Cornwall.
Plan Your Day
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:
Take a train trip on the Bristol Harbour Railway
and be transported back to the days of steam. Ride on Britain’s only dockside steam railway behind one of M Shed
Start mid March to end October yearly
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 - 17:00 hours
Trips last approximately 20 minutes.
Subject to availability.
Buy tickets on-board on the day
Single £4 / Return £5 M shed to Ashton Bridge
Under 6s travel free
The locomotives normally run two weekends a month from mid March to end of October each year.
For current information re Cost of travel and Running Dates go to Web: BHR/ fares & dates
M Shed’s large working exhibits are operated by volunteers. Occasionally crew shortages, mechanical difficulties or adverse weather conditions may force the Museum to alter or cancel the advertised event. To avoid disappointment, check with the Museum by calling Tel: +44 (0)1173 526 600.
About the Railway
Bristol Harbour Railway was built by the Great Western Railway in the 1870s and extended in the 1900s. After a century as a goods railway, it was handed over to the museum and has run as a heritage railway ever since.
It runs between M Shed and the ss Great Britain on the dockside and from M Shed to Ashton Bridge along the New Cut, giving a choice of scenery on alternate routes.
The train is usually pulled by Henbury or Portbury, the Museum’s two Bristol-built steam locomotives that served their working lives on the docks railway system at Avonmouth. The wagons are types once commonly seen on the docks at Avonmouth and in the old City Docks.
Henbury is currently taking a rest and has been replaced by steam locomotive Judy.
Google Map - Bristol Harbour Railway