Tram full of his­tory re­turns to north-east – 120 years on

Move to bring elec­tric ve­hi­cle back to its for­mer glory

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN WALSH

● For­mer city car­riage had been con­verted for post-war hous­ing “It is very im­por­tant as so few sur­vived”

Apiece of the north­east’s dis­tant trans­port past has been re­turned home and will be brought back to its for­mer glory.

The 1901 elec­tric tram was used on the Man­nofield route of Ab­erdeen’s long de­funct net­work, which was scrapped in the late 1960s.

The dou­ble-decker ve­hi­cle was re­placed by a newer model in 1929 and was later used for hous­ing dur­ing short­ages after the Sec­ond World War.

It was owned by a fam­ily in Loirston and re­mained in use un­til about 2010, when the land was bought and ear­marked for a bun­ga­low.

The landown­ers handed over the tram to Ab­erdeen and Dis­trict Trans­port Preser­va­tion Trust and it has been stored in Dundee since 2013.

But al­most 120 years later, the trust, to­gether with the Grampian Trans­port Mu­seum in Al­ford, hope to re­store the ve­hi­cle and get it back into shape as a mu­seum piece.

The tram had its in­te­rior ripped out when it was con­verted and the trust es­ti­mate it will cost in the six-fig­ure re­gion to re­pair and re­store it, in­clud­ing adding an elec­tric mo­tor and run­ners.

It is hoped the ve­hi­cle will be housed per­ma­nently in the mu­seum but will also be able to tour and go to other vin­tage trans­port at­trac­tions across the coun­try.

Trustee Ian Souter said it was a “crit­i­cal” piece of lo­cal and na­tional her­itage.

He said: “I al­ways make the point that trans­port is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal to un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing all forms of so­cial ac­tiv­ity. This is a key part of the de­vel­op­ments in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments.”

Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Mike Ward, said: “From our point of view there are very few sur­vivors from Ab­erdeen’s one-time quite re­mark­able tram net­work.

“We have one al­ready at the mu­seum but it is a horse-drawn ve­hi­cle which this one would have re­placed.

“This one is a later model but it is still none­the­less very im­por­tant as there are so very few that have sur­vived.

“Strangely there is a re­newed in­ter­est in trams among the pub­lic as they are now re-ap­pear­ing in cities across the world.”

Pho­to­graph by Dar­rell Benns

The same tram in ser­vice out­side Man­nofield Church in the Ed­war­dian Era

The tram ar­rives in Al­ford on a low-loader fol­low­ing its jour­ney from Dundee

LABOUR OF LOVE: Joe Mackie and Ian Souter from the preser­va­tion trust have a big job ahead of them. Pho­to­graph by Dar­rell Benns

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