A short history of the North British Locomotive Company. Glasgow. UK
Glasgow’s world famous North British Locomotive Company was formed in 1903 by the amalgamation of three existing firms, Dubs, Neilson Reid and Sharp Stewart and it soon became Europe’s largest and most prolific builder of steam locomotives.
At it’s height, the NBL workshops occupied 60 acres of land, employed more than 8,000 people and had the capacity to construct more than 800 main line steam locomotives per year. By the time the doors were closed for the last time in 1962, a grand total of 26,755 steam locomotives had been built by NBL and it’s constituents for railways all over the World.
Throughout the company’s existence, Britain’s home railways were regular customers for NBL but overseas orders became the mainstay of the annual output. Africa, Australia, South America and New Zealand were all major customers and no less than 6,700 locomotives were built for India alone.
In the 1950’s some of the largest and most powerful steam locomotives that the world would ever see were constructed at Springburn and the street of Glasgow hosted regular processions of massive engines being transported down to the giant crane on Stobcross Quay for shipment overseas.
Our website attempts to provide some insight into the proud tradition of steam locomotive building in Glasgow and to highlight the efforts being made to preserve many of its surviving products. Thank you for your interest.