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Scottish Region visit to Wabtec Rail Scotland Caledonia Works, Kilmarnock hosted by Paul Bain: Tuesday 29 April 2014

The Scottish Region Chairman, Keith Evans (left) presenting Paul Bain with a pair of the Scottish Region's engraved glasses.d

The Scottish Region Chairman, Keith Evans (left) presenting Paul Bain with a pair of the Scottish Region's engraved glasses.

© John Fender 2014

Wabtec are the current owner of the business that began life as Andrew Barclay. With UK premises at Kilmarnock, Burton on Trent, Loughborough and Doncaster, they have established a key role in supplying the rail industry with refurbished and repaired trains. Recent work at the Kilmarnock site includes refurbishment of HST vehicles for First Great Western.

The Scottish Region visited Wabtec Rail Scotland's Caledonia Works in Kilmarnock on the evening of 29 April 2014. The visit was hosted by Paul Bain, the Site Director and began with a brief historical background to Wabtec's occupancy of the site. The site was originally occupied by Andrew Barclay Sons & Company Limited.

The visit began with a short walk to the former Andrew Barclay Sons & Company Limited offices that have been converted to apartments by the Klin Group and incorporates a heritage centre. Members were given a brief history of the former company and were able to inspect the preserved locomotive "Drake" one of six built by Andrew Barclay in 1940 and was commissioned by the Royal Ordnance Factory, Woolwich for use at the Glascoed Arsenal in Wales, although it is doubtful if the locomotive was used there.

The group then returned to the Wabtec premises and after a safety briefing, donning high visibility jackets and protective goggles began the tour of the works in the wheel-shop where wheelsets and bogies are refurbished. Wabtec also manufactures its own range of track friendly freight wagon bogies, aimed at providing less track wear and longer wheel life. The party saw examples of Wabtec's bogies being assembled along with wheelsets that were being refurbished.

Paul Bain explained the various stages in the process including the re-profiling of wheels, welding and assembly of the various components and also explained what the various machines were and their function, highlighting the wheel re-profiling machine, the ovens used to heat the tyres, the presses, shot-blasting and ultrasonic testing equipment.

Paul also outlined the changes that will be made within the workshop area to enable increased productivity, including moving the stores area within the workshops. Other improvements in the workshops include installation of better lighting using LED technology.

Members saw axles and bogies in various stages of refurbishment and these were fully explained. Paul also explained that they are fortunate in being able to have components and rail vehicles arrive by road or rail as the works is directly connected to the rail network.

Moving to the vehicle refurbishment area, the group saw the metal working equipment and also a number of carriages in various stages of refurbishment, including First Great Western carriages undergoing conversion. The work includes re-wiring, installation of new flooring and interiors and re-configuring the seating. The vehicles are also re-painted and the pain process was explained.

The group saw carriages being prepared for re-painting and ones that have had the new paint applied. The paint booth is also heated to aid drying of the paint and it is planned to install an additional paint booth. Once finished the refurbished carriages are fully tested and defects rectified before being delivered to the customer.

After the tour, the party returned to the offices for tea, coffee and sandwiches. The Chairman, Keith Evans thanked Paul for hosting the visit and his detailed explanation of the work undertaken. He presented Paul with a pair of the Scottish region's engraved glasses as a memento of the evening.

The Scottish Region would like to thank Wabtec Rail Scotland and Paul Bain for enabling the visit and the Klin Group for enabling the party to visit the Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. Ltd heritage centre.

For further information on Wabtec, visit their website at

Report and photograph by John Fender.


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