Located in the vibrant village of Alford, just 25 miles from Aberdeen, the Grampian Transport Museum boasts an impressive range of transport exhibits, from travelling chariots of the 1800's, to some of the fastest cars ever made. The museum is a living museum that probes the past, present and future. Many exhibits are climb aboard, hands on and even ride on! The exhibits are updated every year during the closed season, providing a wide range of new and exciting things to see each year. Throughout the year the museum has an extensive outdoor events programme, with such events taking place as Alford Speedfest, Grampian Motorcycle Convention, Family Fun Days and CycleFest.
Major exhibits include the world's oldest Sentinel Steam Waggon from 1914 and a giant Mack Snowplow. Exhibits include historic and classic automobiles, motorcycles, a double-decker bus, bicycles, steam vehicles, an electric tram, toy model vehicles, and transport memorabilia. Alley & MacLellan was founded in 1875 and was based in Polmadie, Glasgow. This company continued in operation until the 1950s. Initially manufacturing valves and compressors for steam engines, and later whole steamships, Alley & MacLellan acquired Simpson and Bibby of Horsehay, manufacturer of steam powered road vehicles, in 1903. They began producing steam road vehicles in 1905 and in 1906 introduced a 5 ton vertical-boiler wagon, which featured a 2-cylinder undertype engine and chain drive. Around 1915 Alley & McLellan moved the steam wagon production to a new factory in England and it continued under a separate company and in 1918 the company also opened a third factory in Worcester specialising in valve manufacture. Both factory buildings were prefabricated in Glasgow for local assembly and in both cases core Scottish employees transferred to the new sites.
Before the first railways, Britain boasted a reliable transport system that was the envy of the world. Stagecoaches were fast and incredibly punctual - many carried passengers from Edinburgh to Aberdeen in just over twelve hours, employing as many as sixty horses on any one run. Their exhibition features various coaches of importance from the era, including a postal stagecoach from 1847, a ‘travelling chariot’ owned by a local family in 1817 and a Brougham carriage – popular with commuters and as taxis throughout the 19th century. Also featured is a collection of postal service paraphernalia from the era of highwaymen and armed post guards, as well as the plotted history of the coaching period – from the first carriage to the advent of the railways which eventually spelled the end of an era. Remembering Captain Barclay of Ury and John Croall of Edinburgh, two of Scotland's most notable stagecoach proprietors.
From Hobby Horses to Bone Shakers, Penny Farthings to today’s carbon fibre racing bikes, the cycling exhibition spans two centuries of progress, ingenuity and invention. Over twenty examples of important and interesting bicycles are on display, each with its own story and relevance. Whether used for work, play or racing, the bicycle and its background represent a fascinating piece of history which is often overlooked in today’s modern world. The exhibit tells the story of this transportation revolution, the trials and tribulations of early adopters and how technology changed and adapted to suit new uses. Visitors can even get a feel for the early days by mounting their Penny Farthing – a notoriously gymnastic skill!
Charting popular culture from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, their fantastic exhibition ‘Pop Icons’ features memorable examples of design and technology- ranging from a real 1960’s TV Dalek to an Apple Macintosh computer and more- all bookended by one of the first and last original Mini’s to roll off the production line. There are a host of other vehicles on display, the site is well worth a visit and can be combined with a trip to the Alford Valley Railway which is adjacent. The narrow gauge railway, built from salvaged equipment from the New Pitsligo peat moss railway, was proposed in 1979 and opened in 1980. Originally it ran for 3 kilometres from Haughton Park station through Murray Park Woods. Then in 1984 another line was run from Alford station, alongside Alford Golf Course, to Haughton Park about 1.35 kilometres away where there is a platform. However, the original Murray Woods line was then closed. The current station building is on the site of the original granite structure which was demolished after British Rail closed the line. The passenger platform is the original. A small railway museum is housed in the railway station building. Grampian Transport Museum is fully wheelchair accessible. There are toilets for the disabled and free wi-fi. A picnic area and parking. Assistance Dogs are Welcome.
Location : Grampian Transport Museum, Montgarrie Rd, Alford AB33 8AE
Transport: Aberdeen (National Rail) then bus (X18, X20) . Bus Routes : Stagecoach Bluebird X18/218, 219, X20/220, 231 and 431 stop in Alford
Opening Times : Reopens 26th March, 2017 then daily 10:00 to 17:00 through 23rd October
Tickets : Adults £9.50; Concessions £7.50; Children £1.00
Tel: 01975 562292