by Courtesy of RailUK
Saturday 5th September 1964 saw the last passenger trains to run on the Portishead branch line into Bristol Temple Meads. (More than half a century later the residents of ‘Posset’ – as the town is affectionally known locally – and particularly its commuters who work in Bristol, still await the restoration of this valuable public transport link.)
I made a misty journey from Portishead to Ashton Gate and back on that last morning, and photographed what was by then an unstaffed station. Later in the day I returned to Portishead station to watch the last train depart as both darkness and rain were falling – not an ideal time for me to take photos, then lacking a ‘flashgun’ for my camera.
As with so many branch lines, much more has been published since the line closed than was written about it when open. ‘Reflections on the Portishead Branch’ by Mike Vincent (Oxford Publishing, 1983) was succeeded rather more recently by ‘The Bristol to Portishead Branch with the Bristol Harbour Railway and Canon’s Marsh Branch’ by Colin G Maggs (Oakwood Press, Locomotion Papers 247, 2020), its lengthy title acknowledging that a line branching off at Ashton Gate, the first station on the Portishead line, was built in 1906; it headed east across the River Avon and the so-called ‘Floating Harbour’ to carry goods traffic to and from the city quays and the GWR Canon’s Marsh Depot.
Here are my photos of Ashton Gate and Portishead on that last day.