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Wemyss Private Railway Website

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wpr No 20 waiting for overhaul falkirk small
Wemyss Private Railway No. 20 waiting for overhaul after sitting idle for many years.

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Wemyss Private Railway No. 16 (model 0 gauge) at Cupar Model Exhibition.

wpr andrew barclay 0 6 0T kit model www
Wemyss Private Railway (Andrew Barclay 0-6-0T) Kit 0 Gauge

wemyss num 3 break van www
The above photo I discovered while leafing through a magazine at the Liverpool Model Rail Group. In this magazine was an article on 'brake vans' and this picture of Wemyss No. 3.

'The text reads: Ex. Midland 10-ton goods brake van was running after being sold to the Wemyss Coal Company about 1907. It is believed to have been MR No.39. The underframe with large wheels is similar to the much earlier Spalding and Bourne brake van.'

Below is a great example of the above brake van in Model form, photographed at the Cupar Model Exhibition. The brake van and Wemyss Coal wagon, built in 0 gauge.
wemyss private railway 1002

wemyss private railway wagon

wemyss private railway 1202

wemyss private railway 02
Another wagon seen on this layout was a Fife Coal Co. wagon. These are modeled in 0 gauge, one from 'Leven', the other from 'Kelty'.
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I have been modeling a number of 'Wemyss' Coal Wagons in their original bauxite colour. I am presently working on a couple of J94's and Brake Vans and other vehicles.

Below are a couple of photographs testing the engine and wagons. This layout has no connection with the WPR, it was available to test run the engine. Layout boards, buildings, track and scenery, is another job for another day.

WPR 00 on layout

WPR Wagons 1 weathered 1 not weathered

WPR on layout 03

WPR No 14

Images above and below of Austerity J94, WPR No. 14 in black.
Still a little work to be done on this one and then some final weathering.
Then onto the next engine... Brake van and more wagons.

WPR No 14 Pic02

Other books and videos:

It was in 1879 that RGE Wemyss, as soon as he was 21, finalised plans for what was to become known as the Wemyss and Buckhaven Railway. It ran through the estate from Thornton Junction to Methil where he wanted to improve the Harbour before the Leven Harbour Company might succeed in developing Leven as the coal port of the district. He successfully managed to do this, at the same time considerably improving the Harbour at Methil which was opened in 1887 and which his ancestor, the second Earl of Wemyss, had originally constructed in 1664.

However, it was not until 1897 that Randolph Wemyss announced his intention to build the Wemyss Private Railway, and in 1899 entered into an agreement whereby the Wemyss Coal Co. Ltd would construct a railway to join lines between Methil dock, which was adjacent, to the near Denbeath Colliery. The eventual plan was for traffic coming from Lochhead, Earlseat and Michael Collieries to be dealt with independently of the North British Railway Company. The actual focal point was the Baum mechanical coal preparation plant strategically built nearby the docks in 1905 and planned to serve all Wemyss Collieries.

Eventually, RGE Wemyss became concerned that traffic was outgrowing the capacity of Methil Dock and managed to persuade the NRB Co. (to whom he had sold the docks) to build a new No. 3 dock. This was opened in 1913.

At the outbreak of World War I, shipments from Methil were considerably curtailed. Later on in the early 1920's the Wemyss Coal Co. Ltd put through a last and major project by sinking a much deeper shaft at Michael Colliery in order to be able to work much lower-lying seams under the Firth of Forth. This opened in 1932 and I remembered during the sinking of this shaft, as a child, being taken down the shaft in a large contractor's bucket, stop-start signals being given by knocking the side of the bucket with a large hammer! The Michael Colliery was now the deepest and most productive pit in Scotland producing nearly 1,000,000 tons annually until 1967 when a disastrous fire caused the pit to become finally abandoned.

By now, with the closing of the Michael Colliery and some 70 years after the inception of the Wemyss Private Railway (WPR), there was little traffic to be carried and some years later it closed down.

The WPR had a colourful history. Coal has been mined on the Wemyss Estate for centuries without a break and since David, second Earl of Wemyss, was granted a charter by Charles II to build a harbour at Methil for the shipment of coal, much of which, even at that time, went abroad. The whole story of railways on the Wemyss Estate is bound up with the lifting of the coal from the extensive deposits under the estate and Firth of Forth adjacent, and the shipment of the output.

Although Randolph Wemyss was my grandfather, I never knew him. He died in 1908 at the age of only 50, from illness contracted in the South African War some 12 years before I was born!

David Wemyss of Wemyss
Invermay by Perth
July, 1997.

                      back cover of this informative book

Wemyss Private Railway Website

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Wemyss Private Railway Website

                     Cover photo: Dysart, Kirckaldy

This comprehensive video record, transferred from colour film taken by local cameramen looks at some of the long closed lines and stations which formed part of the intricate Fife network, and which existed until the early 1970's.

Filmed in a wide variety of locations, the programme features many of what were the 'standard' steam types found in Fife at that time. These include Class A4, A3, B1 V2 J36, J38 and WD's, plus early diesel railcars and shots of the short lived 'Clayton' diesel locomotives.

Industrial steam at work on the Wemyss Private Railway and the British Aluminium Works at Burntisland, plus rare footage of the St. Andrews to Thornton Junction coast route, with steam and diesel power, combine to provide a vivid reminder of long forgotten scenes.

The programme includes:
Thornton Junction Station and Engine shed
Wemyss Private Railway
Dysart Station and the 'Dubby Shunt'
Lochty Private Railway
Lochmuir Signalbox
Wormit Station and Tay Bridge
The Leslie Branch
St. Andrews to Kilconquhar via Crail
Guard Bridge and crossing River Eden

Running time 57 minutes.

Another video worth keeping your eye out for is:

Auld Fife
Nostalgia at it's very best.
This is the Fife of Yesteryear as captured by the pioneering cine-photographers of the past who, with their hand cranked and clockwork cameras, captured life as it used to be for our forebearers.

From the vaults of the Scottish Film and Television Archive come the flickering images of long gone industries, much loved buildings and the simple pleasures of domisticity at a time when life seemed to pass more slowly.

Nostalgia doesn't come better than this.

Presented by David Waterton-Anderson.

Wemyss Private Railway Website

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Wemyss Private Railway Website

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