Andrew Barclay Works No 946 No 3 0-4-0ST

Andrew Barclay 946.jpg

This locomotive was built by Andrew Barclay in 1902 and delivered new to Wemyss Coal Co Ltd in Fife where it worked on the Wemyss Private Railway.

The Wemyss Private Railway was a network of lines, sometimes known as the Wemyss Estate Railway. The lines were a group of mineral and other railways in Fife, Scotland, mainly on the land of the Wemyss family. They were built to connect coal pits to harbours and the railway network, for the use of tenants of the Estate. The Wemyss and Buckhaven Railway was built at the expense of the Wemyss Estate and carried passengers; it was later sold to the North British Railway.

When numerous collieries needed a railway connection the Wemyss Estate built a connecting line to Methil Harbour and improved the harbour itself.

Until that time Wemyss had been financing his businesses in a personal capacity, but in 1894 the Wemyss Coal Company Ltd (WCC) was formed. Wemyss transferred much of his business interest to the Company; other shareholders were chiefly local owners of coal mines.

The company was formed to enable considerable further development of the pits to take place, The major element of the expansion was the creation of the Michael Colliery on the foreshore west of East Wemyss town which was intended to access coal under the sea. A new railway was planned, climbing from the new pit to form a triangular junction with a new line running between West Wemyss and Wemyss Castle, and broadly parallel to the existing Buckhaven line. The new railway was over a mile long, with a zigzag to gain height and gradients of 1 in 69 against loaded trains to reach the high level line. Construction of the line was undertaken in 1895.

The contentious new railway between Muiredge Den and Methil was started in October 1899; it was completed and opened in January 1901.  The line had cost £17,186 to build. It was six miles in length, and single track, starting in the west at Duncan siding, linking Lochhead and Hugo pits, with a new east-facing connection to Michael. It then crossed the Wemyss and Buckhaven line and turned north up Wemyss Den, running close to the 1887 Wellsgreen line, then crossing it by a diamond crossing; the earlier restrictive agreements required Wellsgreen traffic to be worked to Wemyss Castle. It then ran north and east, joining the Bowman branch to Isabella pit, and then crossing the route of the NBR Muiredge branch. Running north-south this had become dormant when more direct routes for Muiredge coal had been built, and the NBR had agreed that it might be severed to allow the new line to pass through west to east. Spur connections north and south were made to the stubs of that line; the junction area was known as Muiredge Plunks. The line continued east through Starkey’s Wood, turning tightly to the south-west and crossing over the Methil extension railway, to terminate at Denbeath pit on the shore.

The locomotive was at Muirs Metals scrapyard Easterbalbeggie near Thornton by April 1971.

The only details I can find on the locomotive indicate that it was still at Thos Muir Haulage & Metal in Kirkaldy in 2007.

Later I gained confirmation that it was still at Thos Muir in Kirkaldy in July 2020.

Andrew Barclay 946.jpg
946 in Muir’s Yard, Thornton – April 1983

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