Alford Railway history to be told

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Preparations for a new exhibition on the history of the Alford Valley Railway (AVR) are well underway at the Grampian Transport Museum (GTM) in Alford.

The life of this long-closed branch line from Kintore from Alford will be illustrated usind drawings and plans from the Great North of Scotland Association’s collection held at the museum as well as many historic photos, along with their present day views for comparison.

Railwayana both specific to the line and the elsewhere in the North-east of Scotland will be on display along with a hands-on working model based on Alford station. People will be able to try their hand shunting the yard on market day!

The line’s contribution to the area wil be set in context to its local agriculture and quarrying industries.

The museum would like to include oral histories from those who knew or used the line, so contributions from near or far are welcome at the museum on (019755) 62292 or e-mail: info@gtm.org and they will get in touch.

The museum understands that this is the first time the line has had an exhibition to itself and it will open on April 1 - the start of the new season at GTM.

Museum curator Mike Ward said: “Not many local people today really appreciate the significance of the old track bed between Alford, Whitehouse, Monymusk, Kemnay and the main line at Kintore junction.

“The AVR was constructed to enable the exploitation of the pink and grey granite quarries at Kemnay and Tillyfourie and also the famous Aberdeen Angus black cattle breeding and agricultural output from a large part of Aberdeenshire.

“The quarries really excelled with huge tonnages leaving on the line. Few realise that the Thames embankments and Tower Bridge in London are built from Tillyfourie granite, as a display of huge blocks testifies outside the Science Museum.

“The AVR is responsible for the present location of the village of Alford which grew around the new terminus from 1859. It is the very reason Alford is here at all!

“The museum is pleased to be telling the full story and showing some of the surviving objects and pictures of the line’s heyday and final years. We welcome input and material and would like to hear from anyone who can add to the story.

“We are looking forward to re-opening the museum on April 1 with new displays and facilities. There are great plans for 2012 and we hope to build on last season’s very high visitor numbers.”

* The museum is looking for potential volunteers to help as guides and assistants for one or two mornings or afternoons per week.

Preference would be given to locally-based people and some local knowledge would obviously be a help. However, full training will be given to successful applicants.

Anyone who thinks they could commit on a regular basis and likes working with the public should apply to the museum by e-mail (info@gtm.org.uk) or write, attention Peter Donaldson (volunteer co-ordinator), Grampian Transport Museum, Alford. AB33 8AE.