"The Duke" was Scotland's first steam locomotive and was used between 1820 and 1848 on the Kilmarnock to Troon line. For the first few years wagons were pulled along the railway by horse but in 1820 the Duke of Portland bought a steam locomotive which was named‘The Duke’. It was used until 1848 and then discarded because of its weight on the line.
The locomotive not only impacted on the efficiency of the coal industry but also on the lives of the community. By 1814 passengers were being conveyed from Kilmarnock to the coast at Troon for weekends and holidays. These rail excursions led to Troon becoming a popular tourist resort during the 19th Century.
‘The Duke’s' original engine does not survive, however, this model of it was presented to the Duke of Portland in 1914 on the occasion of his silver wedding. The piece was later presented to the Burgh of Troon in 1963 by his Grace the 7th Duke of Portland. This piece was part of the Burgh of Troon collection, now South Ayrshire Council museum collections.