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Steam Days
July 2010 - No. 251
Reflections on the Wemyss Private Railway


Steam Days July 2010 Reflections on the Wemyss Private Railway by David P Williams

Reflections on the Wemyss Private Railway
Article and images by David P Williams.
Page 399 - 409

Article consists of 11 pages, with 6 images in colour and 10 images in black and white, 1 illustration all with supporting text.

Great spread of photographs colour and  black and white. This is the most pages, with the most images and text, devoted to the Wemyss Private Railway. Well worth finding and adding to your WPR collection for reference. Well done to David P Williams for a great spread and a great article.

Magazine out of print but still available from either e-bay or from specialist ‘out of print’ magazine web sites, see below.

British Railway Books


‘Ever since I was very young, level crossings have fascinated me, but almost always the gates would be closed against the railway, and open to road traffic, with no train anywhere to be seen, a fleeting encounter instantly forgotten. On this occasion it was different. I saw the gates ahead beginning to move as I drove towards them and very soon found myself at the front of an ever growing line of stationary road vehicles. It was a beautiful sunny autumn morning, and as I was heading west, the scene before me was bathed in a low golden sunlight.

With a melodious whistle a locomotive appeared from the left of the level crossing hauling a rake of loaded wagons. It was only a brief glimpse but the locomotive was of a very striking appearance, being finished in a rich chocolate livery, fully lined out in cream and bearing an elaborately painted No 17 and the letters WPR on the side tank, whilst the chimney was elegant, tall and flared. The train it was hauling was almost equally impressive. I did not count the number of wagons but would estimate from memory that I saw at least twenty wooden bodied and painted rust-red with the letters NCB on their sides. The fact that they were fully laden was very clear from the dull thud with which each wheel met the rail joint at the crossing. The cavalcade was brought up at the rear by a guards van which, like the locomotive, proudly carried the letters WPR. I had just made my first acquaintance with the Wemyss Private Railway.’     David P Williams.

Images in this magazine:

page 399:
Wemyss Private Railway 0-6-0T No. 17 simmers peacefully outside the engine shed at Scotts Road, East Wemyss in August 1968.

page 400: The first and oldest engine of the Wemyss Coal Company almost saw proceeding through from start to finish. This powerful 0-6-0T bought new from Kilmarnoch locomotive builder Andrew Barclay in 1896 (Works No. 764) and carried the name Lady Lillian after Randolph Wemyss’ first wife. The old WCC practice of putting the loco number on the front of the sadle tank was perpetuated by the NCB following acquisition in 1947. Photograph shows No. 1 at Wellesley in 1967.

page 401: WPR No. 19 at Lambert’s Crossing with a sting of empties for Lochhead Colliery at Coaltown of Wemyss on 7 December 1967. Illustration of railway lines and owners, pits and stations.

page 402: WPR Barclay No. 17 with a load of Lochhead coad, on Wednesday, 25 March 1970, just two days before WPR main line operations ended. WPR No. 20 on its way to Wemyss on 5 March, 1970.

Page 403: WPR No. 9 simmers outside Scotts Road Signal Box, East Wemyss on a calm evening April 1969.

Page 404: Veteran 0-6-0T No. 15 in NCB livery in December 1967.

Page 405: NCB No. 9 carrying out shunting work in April 1967.

Also - One of the last trains to pass over the WPR main line threads its way through Wemyss Den on 25 March 1970 with WPR Barclay No. 17 in charge.

Page 406: WPR No. 17 passes beneath the Wellesley Road bridge with a trainload of coal from Lochhead Colliery. WPR No. 17 heads towards the washer on 27 March 1970.

Page 407: WPR No. 18 at BR exchange sidings, Methil in 1968. Also list of WPR locos and details.

Page 408: WPR No. 20 on 20 February 1970 taken from inside the BR Methil West Signal Box. WPR No. 15 at work.

Page 409: Double-heading with two WPR locomotives Barclay No. 19 and Austerity away from Methil on 16 April 1969.

WPR No. 16 on 5 March 1970 heading up the White Swan Brae heading for the washer.

Reflections of the WPR main

Reflections of the WPR Steam Days July 2010

Reflections of the WPR Steam Days July 2010

Reflections of the WPR Steam Days July 2010
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