In Pictures: Cruden Bay Tramway 2

The Grampian Transport Museum in Alford is usually the home of two trams. Earlier this week we reported on Aberdeen horse car no. 1 which has gone back home to Aberdeen for a few months but that still leaves one further rare survivor at the museum – Cruden Bay Tramway 2.

The Cruden Bay Tramway must be one of the smallest tramways to have ever existed with it only ever having two trams to run the service along a line less than a mile long. It also earns the distinction of the being the most northerly tramway in the British Isles. It was built in 1899 to connect Cruden Bay Railway Station with the Cruden Bay Hotel by the Great North of Scotland Railway who owned the hotel. Opening in June of that year the line was a single line built to 3’ 6 ½” gauge running for 0.66 miles. Two trams were built by the Great North of Scotland Railway at Kittybrewster completed in a purple lake and cream livery with Cruden Bay Hotel on the rocker panels.

Passenger services ended on the line on 31st October 1932 although a goods service continued on the line until it was requisitioned in March 1941 by the Army. The two trams were then sold on as summer houses and then in 1988 both were saved for preservation.

The tram now restored at the Grampian Transport Museum has used the best bits of both cars.

An end view of 2. For passengers the interior was ornate and luxurious. However for the drivers they were exposed to the northern Scotland elements.

Another view of the tram’s exterior, showing the side livery to good effect.

A close-up of the driver’s platform showing the controls.

Looking inside the passenger saloon. (All Photographs by David Mee)

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5 Responses to In Pictures: Cruden Bay Tramway 2

  1. Nigel Pennick says:

    The car appears to have been designed for one-way running. Were there turning loops at each end of the line?

  2. Geoff IoM says:

    Although the photos are a bit dark, I think that #2 shows a controller and handbrake at the left-hand end of the car, as well as at the right. Could David Mee confirm?

  3. tram terry says:

    I think you will find that the pictures only detail one end as the cars were double ended. After a great deal of searching I managed to create drawings of the cars, the trailer and goods van. A very satisfying exercise about a long gone tramway.

  4. Nigel Pennick says:

    The asymmetric trolley pole is unusual for a double ended ram. Clearly the end with the off-centre trolley pole has an open part with railings, perhaps for luggage. A unique vehicle. Good that it still exists in such wonderful condition.

  5. David M says:

    The tram does indeed have a controller and handbrake at either end. It is in a dark corner of the museum and the lighting did not make for ease of photography. It is a very smart vehicle and is the result of a major restoration program. If you visit the museum there is a very interesting audio-visual presentation about the tramway and the hotel, plus other artifacts which you can just make out in the photos – a tram pole and some signs included. Nigel is correct that the open part with railings was for passenger luggage.

    The museum itself is very interesting with road and rail exhibits including an impressive model of an Aberdeen Streamliner tram.