Mystery fire destroys 125 years of Fife railway history

The rare and historic Great North of Scothand Railway coach destroyed
The rare and historic Great North of Scothand Railway coach destroyed

A rare train carriage, thought to be one of the last of its kind still in existence, has been destroyed in a mystery fire.

Volunteers from Fife Heritage Railway in Leven, say there is nothing left to salvage of the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) coach, which dates from 1890, after fire destroyed the historic relic at around 6am on Sunday, April 16.

It had been stored in a nearby engineering yard when the fire ripped through the wood structure of the coach. Irronically, restoration work on the historic railway item, which was purchased 35 years ago and has been stored at the site for the last 12 years, was scheduled to commence next month.

Volunteers say they experienced a number of suspicious fires in recent times. Only 24 hours before the latest incident, volunteers witnessed a number of fires they say were started on land adjacent to the Heritage Railway yard.

They have since reported both incidents to the police and say the damage could have been caused deliberatly.

“It’s a devastating loss, with more than 125 years of of railway history now gone up in smoke, “ said Heritage Railway volunteer Peter Westwater.

“What makes it even more heartbreaking is that having recently finished restoring the Weymess Coal Company engine, we were finally getting to a point where we could actually start restoring the coach but that chance has been lost forever.

“We’ve had problems with deliberate fires being set nearby so have not ruled out that the damage was malicious,” said Mr Westwater.

“Whatever has happened we have now lost an historically important pices of Fife railway history and that is very sad.”