The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 24 August 2007

Ballantrae twins make tracks to success

OVER 15 years ago, two brothers from Ballantrae in Ayrshire began a local business removing roadside and railside obstructions for the local council after receiving a business loan and grant from the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust.

Picture shows: Danny and Billy McCulloch.

Today, the family-run business W & D McCulloch Rail Division has grown to employ over 40 people, and is recognised as the UK’s leading rail installers and providers of re-railing services.

Added to which, the brothers have just begun a brand new venture and opened a garden centre, Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre in Ballantrae, on land they purchased a few years ago.

Twin brothers Billy and Danny McCulloch (41) who live in Ballantrae, set up W & D McCulloch Rail Division after winning their first contract from First Engineering to remove scrap rail.

It was during this project that the two brothers saw a niche in the market for a machine that would greatly enhance the amount of rail that could be moved in one shift.

With this in mind, W & D McCulloch designed and built the Trac Rail Transposer, and it is now being used across the UK to make the re-railing process more cost-effective, quicker and inherently safer for crews working on the rail tracks.

The Trac Rail Transposer was put forward for the category of Innovation in Engineering and Information Technology at The Railway Forum/Modern Railways Innovation Awards in June earlier this year and came second out of 130 entries.

The company, which has recently won a new contract with First Engineering as part of a £350 million project to install two new additional tracks near Lichfield in Staffordshire, also provides services for rail maintenance companies up and down the UK including transposing rails, switches, crossings and sleepers, installing single line rails, the burning and recovery of scrap rails and the removal of scrap rail, concrete or wooden sleepers.

Engineering director Billy McCulloch comments: “When we first set up the business in 1992, we never imagined we’d have designed, built and patented our own piece of machinery - let alone be running a business with over 40 employees.

“It is never easy setting up your own business, and it takes an awful lot of hard work, but if you are prepared to put in the time and energy and to believe in yourselves, it is possible to build a successful and sustainable business.

“PSYBT helped us in the early stages of establishing our company and we appreciate the help this gave us in setting up the business.

“W&D McCulloch is still growing as a specialised rail services business and our aim is to continue to win new contracts and expand our services and our team further. It has also been a challenge starting up the garden centre in the last year or so, and we are pleased things are going so well with that, so much so that this summer we are already planning to extend its coffee shop.”

PSYBT chief executive Mark Strudwick said: “Billy and Danny’s business is a real success story. They have shown themselves to be true entrepreneurs by capitalising on the opportunities in front of them and taking their ideas and making them happen. They have obviously created a truly unique business and designed a highly successful product specifically for their marketplace. It is wonderful to hear that after many years in business they are still growing and expanding. We are delighted that we were able to help them at the very beginning of their business and continue to wish them success in the future.”

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