GRANT RITCHIE BACK IN BUSI­NESS

Steam Railway (UK) - - Industrial News -

Unique Grant Ritchie 0-4-0ST Fife Coal Com­pany No. 21, W/No. 272, un­der­went a test steam­ing at the Rib­ble Steam Rail­way on May 21. The only sur­viv­ing four wheeled lo­co­mo­tive from the lit­tle-known Kil­marnock builder is in the fi­nal stages of a com­pre­hen­sive over­haul. The 1894 built No. 21 ended its com­mer­cial ca­reer at Rothes Col­liery in 1966. It then spent over 30 years in Muirs scrap­yard be­fore mov­ing to Pre­ston in the early 21st cen­tury. It be­comes the sec­ond lo­co­mo­tive from Muirs to steam at the Rib­ble Steam Rail­way in preser­va­tion, fol­low­ing An­drew Bar­clay 16in 0-4-0ST No. 6 ‘Fife Flyer’, W/No 2261 of 1949, which re­turned to ac­tion in 2013. Only 45 lo­co­mo­tives are known to have been built by Grant Ritchie be­tween 1879 and 1920, and their sim­i­lar­ity to An­drew Bar­clay-built lo­co­mo­tives is be­lieved to be far from a co­in­ci­dence. Two Bar­clay em­ploy­ees ap­par­ently be­gan lo­co­mo­tive build­ing shortly af­ter a se­ri­ous fire at the Bar­clay works - and there are even tales of works draw­ings mov­ing with the pair. All of the known lo­co­mo­tives by the firm were four and six wheeled tank types, in­clud­ing some crane tanks. Al­most all found buy­ers in Scot­land, with only one or two just reach­ing out across the bor­der into the North East and North West of Eng­land. The only other sur­viv­ing lo­co­mo­tive from the Scot­tish builder is 0-4-2ST

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