This is one of Andrew Barclay’s largest locomotives, designed to haul loads of 750 tons or more at low speeds. It was built in 1939 for the Wemyss Coal Company in Fife.
When the coal industry was nationalised in 1948, Captain Wemyss, the owner of the Wemyss Coal Company, successfully argued that the railway linking the Wemyss mines was not included, and this became the Wemyss Private Railway. It carried coal to the washer at Wellesley and the docks at Methil. No.20 was one of its last working locomotives, and continued in service until the railway closed in June 1970. This is an example of a large locomotive used on a private railway with a reasonably long haul, rather than simply for shunting.
It was purchased by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society in 1970 and is based on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway.
No.20 was out of use, awaiting a heavy general overhaul for some time but in January 2020 it was reported that the boiler had been removed from the frames as part of the overhaul process.