Grampian Transport Museum opens to a bright, sustainable future

Thursday, April 29 is a big day as the Grampian Transport Museum opens for the 2021 season with some exciting new changes.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:59 am
Grampian Transport Museum opens next week with new additions
Grampian Transport Museum opens next week with new additions

Curator Mike Ward is very pleased with what has been achieved during the closed winter period despite lockdown and COVID-19 measures.

He said: “Our 2020 season was severely shortened, but despite this we were very pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors who did come to see us and the excellent reviews they left on TripAdvisor. It was very rewarding for our wonderful staff, who adapted to the new COVID affected circumstances in the best possible way.

“Over the winter we have been hugely supported by Museums and Galleries Scotland (MGS) who have provided grants from their Recovery and Resilience Funds enabling us to look forward to the future with great optimism. One of the funded projects is the installation of a 27KW bank of solar panels with battery storage and two air to air heat source pumps.

"We believe this technology will make GTM the country’s first ‘off grid’ museum over the winter months, being fully renewable energy self-sufficient, greatly reducing our carbon footprint and running costs. Our environmentally friendly and COVID safety measures (to ‘We’re Good to Go’ standards) also extend to our very smart new ladies and gents toilets, with the latest ‘non-touch’ technology, and to our new EPOS ticket booking and shop sales systems, all enabled by MGS funding."

Mike continued: “GTM has a great reputation for refreshing our exhibition every year, changing up to a third each time. New for 2021 is a stunning MANN steam tractor kindly on loan from the outstanding collection of local supporter Mike Dreelan.

“A potentially ground-breaking addition for 2021 is the museum’s first outdoor exhibit, our Vanhool Hydrogen bus which until recently was carrying people around the roads of Aberdeenshire. A combination of generous local support through a crowdfunding campaign and some top-up funding from MGS means we are having a smart new covered access corridor built and this will be open in June.

“Also new for this year is a room dedicated the fascinating story of the original GNSR Alford Valley Railway, which has such historic significance for the museum. Opened in 1859 it serviced the world-renowned granite quarries at Kemnay and Tillyfourie, and the original Aberdeen Angus cattle breeder, William McCombie of Home Farm, Tillyfour.”

In a fascinating twist of fate the whole story of this rail line can now be enjoyed in the transport museum which is itself situated in the village which was built on the site of the original railhead, to which Scotland’s only second ever car was delivered by train in July 1896, purchased by Dr Howie from Bridge of Alford!

Mike said: “Regular museum visitors will know that GTM always has a Ford Model T on display as the most significant car ever built in the history of motoring. This year’s version is of special local interest as it is a completely original 1924 local baker’s van. With his inspirational car Henry Ford was credited with ‘killing off the original electric car revolution’.”

“This year we are pleased to welcome back the popular ‘climb aboard’ exhibits which were greatly missed by our younger visitors last year.”

The mseum will initially be open 10am-5pm, Thursday-Monday. Tickets must be booked online www.gtm.org.uk.