Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

76026
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:02 pm

Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by 76026 » Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:06 pm

What and when were the last steam workings you heard about or saw after Barrow Road closed?
Were they all steam standing in for / assisting ailing diesels, or were there one or two obscure workings still offering a reasonable chance to see steam? Did any of the guest steam locos at Bath Road open days arrive and leave under their own power?

I do recall at school being green with envy on several occasions when someone reported seeing an unexpected Black 5 at Stoke Gifford the previous evening- was that the best spot at the very end?

When I tried to answer this question via google, I found a similar discussion, but focused on the North, at
https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index ... e-by-line/

the green mile
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by the green mile » Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:36 pm

In Terry Nicholls' video 'Railways Around Bristol' there is footage of locos arriving and departing under their own steam for the 1966 and 1967 open days. Shots include a USA tank en route from Meldon to the Southern Region , Cookham Manor and Clun Castle arriving together and Princess Elizabeth passing north of Kingswood Junction en route back to Dowty's at Ashchurch, where she was based.

For some reason, my memory of post Barrow Road steam is rather vague apart from the very occasional steam hauled freight on Filton Bank with maybe a Standard 9F, LMR 8F or Black 5 at the head. Sorry, can't be more helpful with that one

Roy

Robin Summerhill
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by Robin Summerhill » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:12 pm

If I remember correctly from the railway press at the time, the WR was hell-bent on ending stem by the end of 1965. Of course, the S&D closure postponement scuppered that particular plan but, post-January 1966, he Spartan service between Bristol and Bath GP was operated from the Bristol end, so no 82F engines turned up.

After Barrow Road closed, the WR removed all official steam servicing facilities south of Gloucester, although water was available at a push from a hose at Bath Road. So anything that came south of Gloucester had, in theory, to be able to get back there again to be serviced. That only lasted until the end of 1965 when Horton Road closed to steam.

There may have been the occasional steam working south of Gloucester until the end of the year, but after that the most southerly coaling and watering facilities were at Saltley, so anything that came down later would probably have ended up being towed back!

Special arrangements would apply to anything that attended the Bath Road open days under its own power, although I would have doubted that a USA tank’s coal capacity would take it very far.

76026
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:02 pm

Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by 76026 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:34 pm

Thank you both. I’d forgotten how determined WR was to prevent steam locos sneaking back into the region.

I’m now going to show my gross ignorance- from which Bristol Yard would those occasional steam locos hauling up Filton Bank have picked up their freight trains?

How the Meldon USA tank could have got to Bristol in the absence of coaling facilities is a mystery; would Bath Road have got away with setting up some temporary coal supply en route?

I’ve just discovered Andy K’s comment on RMWeb (thank you Andy) about the steam hauled freights that ran from Weymouth to Westbury on the last day of SR steam in July1967, with one loco going on to Bradford to turn, the other to Limpley Stoke to cross over. I guess this means there would have been watering facilities at Westbury.

Robin Summerhill
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by Robin Summerhill » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:28 am

Although not strictly on topic, you’d forgotten how determined the WR were to get shot of steam by the end of 1965, and I’d forgotten about incursions from the south!

To answer one of your questions, when Westerleigh Yard close in 1965, then initially its remaining traffic would have gone to Stoke Gifford. But that too was being run down, as was East Depot, so logic suggests that your freights came from West Depot. Anything from Kingsland Road would have required a reversal and, if the WR didn’t want old-fashioned steam engines being seen by passengers at TM, they could have used the avoiding line and Rhubarb Curve.

Regarding incursions from the south, they certainly happened. I have shots that I took of 34052 in steam at Warminster on 3rd June 1967, and 34008 at Reading on 8th April 1967. 34052 at Warminster may have been (can’t remember now for certain) towing other engines to South Wales being the best of the bunch that were going to the scrap yards.

This of course also begs a question of how would they have done that run without taking on water somewhere along the route, as there were quite a few of those one-way outings during 1967. That’s a question I don’t know the answer to.

22A
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by 22A » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:42 am

On our way home from school one Friday before a Bath Road Open Day, (1968 or 69?), my friends and I were amazed to see an industrial 0-6-0T arriving "under it's own steam".

Robin Summerhill
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by Robin Summerhill » Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:04 pm

22A wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:42 am
On our way home from school one Friday before a Bath Road Open Day, (1968 or 69?), my friends and I were amazed to see an industrial 0-6-0T arriving "under it's own steam".
When Filton Coal Concentration Depot was originally set up they had one there. I can't remember when they got rid oi it but it might have been that.

There was also the Peckett that worked Kilmerson colliery but I doubt it was that. It was still working there until the pit closed c1973 and I suspect it wasn't that unless it came by road, otherwise they would have had to risk shifting it up and down the rope-worked incline to the Bristol to Frome line.

Does anybody know if there were still any PBA steam locomotives working the docks at that time?

Andy Kirkham
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by Andy Kirkham » Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:28 pm

Colin Maggs in Rail Centres - Bristol states that steam-hauled freights continued to reach Bristol from Birmingham until August 1966, but gives no further details.

However there is an incident described in the Wild Swan book Somerset & Dorset Swansong by Bob Bunyar (of which I can't find my copy at the moment) which I think will be hard to beat. The book contains an eye-witness account from (I think) January 1967 when 34057 Biggin Hill took over a Portsmouth-Cardiff service at Salisbury and worked it through to Temple Meads.

Andy Kirkham
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by Andy Kirkham » Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:30 pm

Robin Summerhill wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:04 pm
22A wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:42 am
"under it's own steam".
Does anybody know if there were still any PBA steam locomotives working the docks at that time?
I don't believe so. I think PBA steam finished before BR steam in Bristol did.

22A
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Re: Last BR steam workings in or around Bristol?

Post by 22A » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:11 pm

I rang a friend last night. The industrial at the open day was from Imperial Smelting and is now preserved at Bitton.

He also said that some rakes of withdrawn SR locos were towed to Barry by another steam loco which would drop it's fire on arrival with the crew returning home on the cushions. It's possible therefore that some steam worked through the area in 66 and early 67.

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