15 May 2024

Historical Walk: Bristol Harbour Railway

A short history of the Bristol Harbour Railway, taking a look at the people and process behind its creation.

Bristol Temple Meads had opened for passenger services as early as 1840, yet similar plans for the movement of freight were slow to emerge. Despite Bristol being a maritime city, there was no rail connection between Temple Meads and the city docks until the opening of the Bristol Harbour Railway in 1872.

Some of the people behind the venture and connections to the North Somerset coal field will be discussed. The walk itself will start behind Temple Meads station and follow the route of the line to the harbour. The remains of the line will be described along with some of the strange obstacles that had to be overcome.

Upcoming dates

  • Wednesday 15 May, 2pm


This walk will start at Bristol Ferry landing stage, Temple Meads and end at the Fairbairn steam crane on the quayside at Wapping Wharf, near M Shed. The walk is at a gentle pace on level terrain and is suitable for participants of all levels of fitness. It’s approximately one mile long.

Additional information
To stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please follow government guidelines. Volunteer guides will meet you 5-10 minutes before the walk is due to begin. There will be breaks at key locations where the volunteers will point out sites of key interest and talk about their significance. The majority of the tour is suitable for wheelchairs but some areas may be difficult to navigate.

Suitable clothing
Although the routes are not strenuous, please be aware that surfaces may be uneven and could be slippery when wet. We strongly recommend that you dress appropriately for the weather with warm/waterproof clothing and comfortable footwear.

For your safety
Please take care when crossing busy roads and always use the designated crossings where indicated. Please be aware of other road users and pedestrians, particularly by leaving space on pavements for people to cross safely.