These notes indicate the significance of Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co as builders of industrial locomotives. Barclays built in excess of 2,000 steam locomotives, and were the last Scottish locomotive builders.
Andrew Barclay produced his first locomotive in 1859, and locomotive manufacture continued at Kilmarnock until the 1990s. Robust, hard wearing designs were produced, and a particular strength was the early development of a series of standard four and six coupled designs, which continued in production, with detail developments, from the 1880s until the early 1960s. These designs could be produced to suit a wide variety of track and loading gauges. Locomotives built by the company were to be found throughout Great Britain, and were exported to all parts of the British Empire.
Two specialties were fireless locomotives (for use where smoke or sparks were not permitted) and crane tanks, which were standard steam locomotives with a crane jib mounted over the boiler.
The company was early in the field of diesel traction, their first oil-engined locomotives being produced in 1936. They made a successful transition from steam to diesel production, and, like their steam locomotives, Barclay diesels were generally successful. Their last steam locomotive was built in 1962.
Andrew Barclays acquired the goodwill of the North British Locomotive Company when the latter closed in 1962. The firm merged with the Hunslet Group in 1972, being known as Hunslet Barclay from 1989. In November 2007, Hunslet-Barclay was bought by Brush Traction of Loughborough, and re-named Brush-Barclay.
Barclay built designs have continued to give reliable service in railway preservation since closure of most of the industries to which the locomotives were originally supplied.
The SRPS collection at present includes nine steam locomotives and one diesel locomotive built by the company, all obtained from industrial users or their successors.