Our volunteers are working on a number of locomotive restoration projects. These include:
A shunter locomotive built in 1928 that spent much of it’s working life at Fry’s Somerdale Chocolate Factory in Keynsham (just a mile from the Avon Valley Railway). Following scrapping in 1964 it changed hands several times. In 2009 one of the Railway’s volunteers Eric Miles, tracked it down to a garden shed in Essex before being able to return it to Bitton the following year. A group of dedicated volunteers is working tirelessly to restore the locomotive in the hope of it running again. The team are always looking for more support, both financial and physical!
Avonside 1798 ‘Edwin Hulse’
Built in 1918 by the Avonside Locomotive Works this engine spent its entire working life here in the West at Avonmouth’s Imperial Smelting Works. Retired in 1972 it was purchased by the railway and moved to Bitton the following year. Used by the railway for many years it is now in need of it’s 10 year overhaul
Our Mk1 kitchen carriage. This has been painstakingly restored by a band of volunteers, but was coming to a halt as we had run out of funds to install the flooring, stainless steel cladding in the kitchen and all the catering equipment. This project is now able to continue thanks to a gratefully received grant from Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust of £15,000.
Robert Stephenson Hawthorn 0-6-0T NO. 7151
We’re also currently fundraising for the overhaul of this locomotive. One of a number of its class used by a variety of Midland power stations No. 7151 was purchased by a Trust member from Hams Hall Power Station (CEGB) where its large size and power was used to haul 1000 ton coal trains. The engine was moved to Bitton in 1980 and, following minor repairs and fitting of vacuum brakes and steam heat equipment, she entered service on the Santa Special trains that year. She was used on a regular basis for a couple of years until coming up for her ten year boiler overhaul.
The extent of the overhaul was greater than first thought, including work on the wheels, motion and boiler. The engine finally returned to traffic in November 1999, running up until having a subsequent overhaul in 2007, the locomotive continued to be a regular and reliable performer throughout, proving itself as a workhorse and an asset to the railways steam locomotive fleet. During the summer months of 2014 the locomotive made her final appearances before been withdrawn for a major overhaul, since then the loco has sat in a stored state, awaiting her turn in the restoration queue.
Now a small team of volunteers are beginning the mammoth task of stripping the engine down, which will allow for an in-depth inspection to be carried out on the locomotives boiler to ascertain the work required for her eventual return to steam. The locomotives motion, water tanks and many other items that make up the finished product are also been stripped to inspect levels of wear and damage etc. The hope is that a lot of the restoration work can be completed by the volunteer team to reduce the cost of the overhaul.
Our aim is to return our charismatic handsome tank engine back to full working order so that she can retake her place as a valued member of our running fleet so that future generations can experience and enjoy the elegance and charm of this steam engine.
A number of other voluntary groups use the railway as a base for restoring their steam locomotives including the 4F 4123 0-6-0.