Andrew Barclay Works No 2373 Imperial Paper Mills Ltd  0-4-0F Imperial 1


The locomotive (Works No 2373) was built in 1956 by Andrew Barclay & Sons Co Ltd at Kilmarnock for Imperial Paper Mills Ltd at Gravesend. It cost £6,790.

Given the flammable nature of paper, the hot ash of the traditional steam locomotive posed a fire risk at mills. A novel solution to this was the development of the fireless locomotive, which lacked a boiler and firebox and, instead, was equipped with a cylindrical reservoir. Steam would first be generated and pressurised in a static boiler and, through a pipe, then be pushed into the fireless locomotive’s reservoir – the rest of the mechanics, such as pistons and connecting rods, were as per a standard locomotive. In the early 20th Century, Germany was a world leader in fireless locomotive construction and the country’s first examples were made some years before manufacturers in Britain started to produce such machines.

The first British manufacturer of fireless locomotives was Andrew Barclay Sons & Company, Ltd of Kilmarnock, Scotland, which started producing these engines in 1912.

The company built several of these locomotives during the First World War when it was no longer possible to source them from Germany. During this period there was a demand for these sort of locomotives for working in munition factories.

The Imperial Paper Mills initially ordered two of these from Andrew Barclay which were delivered in 1916 and 1917.

These engines possessed cylinders of 15-inch diameter, had an 18-inch stroke, and their reservoirs were charged with steam to a pressure of 160lbs per square inch from a static boiler of 165lbs per square inch pressure. The arrangement was of the 0-4-0 type, the wheels being 3-feet in diameter and the wheelbase extending to 6-foot 6-inches.


Home Base Current Status Owner
Locomotion – National Railway Museum at Shildon On static display National Railway Museum

NRM Object Number{1978-7045}


2373 shunting empty pulp wagons at Imperial Paper Mills Ltd, Gravesend – April 1972
2373 in Locomotion at Shildon – December 2006
Imperila Shildon 2015.jpg
Imperial in Locomotion at Shildon-2015

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