Andrew Barclay Sons & Co.

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Andrew Barclay Sons & Co.
Brodie Engineering
PredecessorBarclays & Co.
FounderAndrew Barclay
  • Hunslet-Barclay (1972-2007)
  • Brush-Barclay (2007-2011)
  • Wabtec Rail Scotland (2011-2020)
  • Brodie Engineering Ltd (2020–present)
HeadquartersWest Langland Street, ,
Area served
ServicesLocomotive repairs and maintenance
OwnerBrodie Engineering Ltd.

Andrew Barclay Sons & Co., currently operating as Brodie Engineering, is a builder of steam and later fireless and diesel locomotives. The company's history dates to foundation of an engineering workshop in 1840 in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

After a long period of operation the company was acquired by the Hunslet group in 1972 and renamed Hunslet-Barclay; in 2007 the company changed hands after bankruptcy becoming Brush-Barclay as part of the FKI Group. In 2011 Brush Traction and Brush-Barclay were acquired from FKI by Wabtec. The site was acquired by Brodie Engineering Ltd in July 2020.


The former offices in West Langland Street is now the HQ of development company The KLIN Group

Born in 1814, Andrew Barclay was only 25 years of age when he set up a partnership with Thomas McCulloch to manufacture mill shafts in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. It was only a couple of years later that he branched out on his own to manufacture his patented gas lamps. In 1847 he set up workshops specializing in the manufacture of winding engines for the local coal mining industry. However, the money from the gas lamp patent sale was never paid and sequestration of the company came the following year.

By 1859 Barclay had recovered from this setback and his newly formed company produced its first locomotive. Sometime around 1871 Andrew Barclay set up a second locomotive building business known as Barclays & Co. He had set up this company for his younger brother, John, and his four sons. This business remaining closely associated with Andrew Barclay. Again not all went well and the companies were declared bankrupt in 1874 and 1882 respectively. Four years after this latest collapse, Andrew Barclay's business was relaunched as Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. Later Barclays & Co was also revived. Further difficulties arose. In 1892 the firm became a limited liability company as Andrew Barclay Sons & Co., Ltd. Just two years later Andrew was removed from control of the company which bore his name by its shareholders. Barclay sued the company for unpaid wages, a matter which was settled out of court 5 years later.

In 1930 the company bought the business of John Cochrane (Barrhead) Ltd, engine makers and in 1963 it acquired the goodwill of the North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow.[clarification needed]


A Hunslet-Barclay class 20 at Doncaster in 1994

In 1972 the company was acquired by the Leeds-based Hunslet Group of companies and its name was changed in 1989 to Hunslet-Barclay Ltd. As such, it operated six ex-British Rail Class 20 diesels to provide motive power for weed-killing trains used on the national rail network. Its manufacturing output in this period included eight additional centre trailer cars for the Glasgow Subway, which were delivered in 1992.[citation needed]

The locomotive interests of Hunslet-Barclay were bought by LH Group, Staffordshire on 31 December 2003, with Hunslet-Barclay at Kilmarnock continuing in the business of design, manufacture and refurbishment of multiple units, rolling stock, bogies and wheel-sets.

Some Barclay locomotives were supplied through Lennox Lange, who acted as an agent for Barclay.[when?][citation needed]


The plant under Brush-Barclay ownership

After going into financial administration in 2007 the company was acquired by the locomotive builder Brush Traction of Loughborough through its parent, the FKI Group.[1] It was renamed Brush-Barclay.[2]

Wabtec Rail Scotland[edit]

On 28 February 2011, Wabtec announced that it had acquired Brush Traction for US$31 million. The Kilmarnock works became Wabtec Rail Scotland.[3][4]

Brodie Engineering[edit]

Following closure and sale of the site by Wabtec, Kilmarnock firm Brodie Engineering acquired the site at Caledonia Works in 2020, and now operates two facilities within Kilmarnock, with the other being at the Bonnyton Rail Depot within the Bonnyton Industrial Estate.[5][6]


A brass makers plate from an 0-4-0 Andrew Barclay locomotive of 1925 which worked at a Mauchline colliery in Scotland

Saddle tanks[edit]

The company was noted for constructing simple robust locomotives, chiefly for industrial use, and many of its products survive in use on heritage railways, over 100 in Britain. A typical product would be an 0-4-0 with squared-off saddle tank.

Fireless locomotives[edit]

Barclay was the largest builder of fireless locomotives in Britain, building 114 of them between 1913 and 1961. They were used in munitions factories during WW1, and the closure of the Gretna munitions factory at the end of WW1 saw an 0-4-0 Barclay fireless loco of 2 foot gauge, and two 0-6-0 Barclay fireless locos of standard-gauge up for tender.[7] Few fireless locomotives are seen in action today. This is due to the low power of the locomotives, the long time needed to charge a locomotive from cold and the low steam pressures available for charging. Perhaps the only exception was "Lord Ashfield" (Andrew Barclay works no. 1989 of 1930) at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester that ran for a while in the 1990s sharing a steam supply with the stationary exhibits in their exhibition hall.

Diesel locomotives[edit]

The company built diesel shunting locomotives for industry and for British Rail. Classes included British Rail Class D2/5, British Rail Class 01 and British Rail Class 06.


Over 80 Andrew Barclay locomotives were supplied to railways in Ireland (Irish Turf Board/Bord na Móna), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Port Authority).[8]


699 "Swanscombe" is the oldest surviving Andrew Barclay locomotive, dating from 1891.
1245 represents the 0-6-0 side tank locomotives built by Andrew Barclay.
1952 is the only operational Fireless Andrew Barclay in the UK.
2139 "Salmon" is one of the 0-6-0 Andrew Barclay saddle tanks.
2248 "Albert" is a representative of the more powerful 16 inch Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tanks.
2274 (NCB No. 22) is a representative of the 14 inch Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tanks.

A large number of various ABS&Co locomotives have been preserved, proving popular on many Heritage Railways and Railway Centres, as listed below.

Standard Gauge[edit]

Steam Locomotives[edit]

Diesel Locomotives[edit]

446 "Kingswood" operates as a yard shunter at the Avon Valley Railway

Narrow Gauge[edit]

'Steam Locomotives'

'Narrow Gauge Diesel Locomotives'


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "£2.1m deal puts Hunslet -Barclay back on the rails", Herald Scotland, 13 November 2007
  2. ^ "Brush buys Hunslet-Barclay". Railway Gazette International. 25 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Wabtec buys Brush Traction". Railway Gazette International. 28 February 2011.
  4. ^ Samuel, A. (28 February 2011), "Wabtec Rail announces acquisition of Brush Traction Group",, archived from the original on 9 September 2012
  5. ^ Cameron, Greig. "Historic Caledonia rail works set to shut".
  6. ^ "Brodie's expands into former Wabtec plant".
  7. ^ Tenders are Invited for Locomotives and Railway Wagons, Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 12 September 1919, p8
  8. ^ Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, June 1984, pp.121-136
  9. ^ Hebditch, Jon (26 May 2016). "If you grew up in Aberdeen you definitely played on this train… It's now getting a £60,000 refurb". The Press & Journal. Archived from the original on 3 February 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  10. ^ Barnes, Barbara. "Merry Christmas and a Marvellous New Year". Helston Railway. Helston Railway. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  11. ^ Grant Ritchie 272/1894, Ribble Steam Railway, retrieved 14 January 2012
  12. ^ "British locomotive manufacturers",, Grant Ritchie & Co., Townholme Engine Works, Kilmarnock, retrieved 12 January 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Wear, Russell (1990). Barclay 150: a brief history of Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. and Hunslet-Barclay Ltd., Kilmarnock from 1840 to 1990. Kilmarnock: Hunslet-Barclay.
  • Wear, Russell (1977). The Locomotive Builders of Kilmarnock. Industrial Railway Society.

External links[edit]