New Dundee Museum of Transport opens to the public
- 26 April 2014
- From the section Tayside and Central Scotland
A new transport museum has opened its doors in Dundee.
The Dundee Museum of Transport, featuring everything from a 1950s city bus to a steam-roller and a horse-drawn ambulance, is based in a renovated industrial warehouse at Market Mews.
A special vintage bus service is ferrying customers to the museum in style throughout the weekend.
Bosses hope to establish the attraction enough to win their dream location at the city's old Maryfield tram depot.
The museum project has been in the works for several years already, having taken over its current premises in 2012.
As well as redeveloping their premises, the group behind the museum has been working to renovate old vehicles for display, with several buses, a horse-drawn ambulance and the remains of a locomotive engine all passing through the workshop.
They've even taken on some major projects from farther afield, such as a major project to restore a double-decker Aberdeen Corporation tram, and Dundee's last horse-drawn tram.
Chairman Jimmy McDonell said the opening of the museum was the culmination of years of hard work.
"It's been a long and incredibly busy road for us," he said.
"We're really excited to bring such a fantastic visitor attraction to Dundee, tapping into the local culture and transport history - not just for Dundee, but beyond."
The Aberdeen tram being renovated at the museum dates back to 1901, and is the last remaining example of an electric Aberdeen Corporation tram.
The tram was in service in the city on the number 15 route until 1930, when it became a summer house at Loriston, to the south of the city.
It travelled south on the back of a lorry and was hoisted into the museum by a crane last summer, with efforts now under way to restore it to its former glory.
The museum is also working on the last surviving Dundee tram, which bizarrely was also found being used as a summer house - this time in a back garden in Perth earlier this year.
The horse-powered number 24 tram dates back to 1887, and was taken out of service at the turn of the last century when electric vehicles took over.
Mr McDonell said it would take "pride of place" in the museum when fully restored.
"It still has its original interior, which is astounding," he added.
Other historic items from around Tayside are also included. Elsewhere in the museum is a 1930 Angus County Council road roller, one of just four of its kind surviving, and several classic Angus Fire Brigade vehicles.
The group has won the support of the city's bus company, National Express Dundee, which is now the museum's main sponsor.
And the firm is chipping in for the opening weekend by running a free shuttle service on a vintage bus from the city's Seagate bus station to the museum.
National Express Dundee managing director Phil Smith said the opening of the museum was a "fantastic boost" for the city.
He added: "Not only are they celebrating Dundee and Tayside's hidden heritage, they're celebrating the heritage of our own business, displaying some of the vehicles and memorabilia used by the bus company in its former guise as the Corporation."
Among other exhibits at the museum are a Dundee Corporation Daimler bus which entered service in 1951, and a more modern Travel Dundee bus from 1997.
Mr McDonell hopes the museum can prosper enough in its current location to fund a move to the group's dream premises, the former Maryfield tram depot - something he refers to as the museum's "mission objective".
However the depot, which dates back to 1901 and is currently owned by Scottish Water, is listed on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland and would need significant repairs and renovation.
The transport museum group is applying to the Heritage Lottery fund for support, but needs to prove it can make a go of its current location at Market Mews.
Mr McDonell said: "We will be relying heavily on the success of our current premises to comply with the strict requirements set out by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to ensure that our hard work to get to this stage pays off."