The new year is not even two weeks old and we can report on an exciting development for heritage trams with the movement of Aberdeen Corporation Transport 15 from Dundee to Alford for a start to be made on its restoration. This won’t just be a cosmetic restoration though as it is planned to make it an operational tram with it being offered for loan to tramways across the UK although its permanent home will be on static display at the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford.
We have reported on this tram previously – at a time when its exact identity was unknown – with it being extracted from its long-term home as a, well, home back in 2013. 15 was one of a batch of double deckers built in 1901 and was used on the Mannofield route in Aberdeen before being withdrawn from service in the late 1920s. As so often in stories like these the tram body was later sold on for further use and it found itself used as part of a house on Wellington Road in its home city. That was until the site was acquired for redevelopment in 2010 which meant the tram was either to be scrapped or saved for future restoration. Fortunately it was the latter which won out and in 2013 the body was carefully extracted from its long-term home and moved to Dundee where it has remained stored since awaiting a start to be made on its restoration.
And that time has now arrived! The Aberdeen and District Preservation Trust are now in a position to start work on no. 15 and to this end it was moved from the Dundee Transport Museum to the Grampian Transport Museum on 8th and 9th January. The Grampian Transport Museum is 25 miles outside of Aberdeen but it is closer enough to make this a move back home for the tram and now work will begin in earnest in returning the tram to a much more presentable condition.
The Aberdeen and District Preservation Trust have estimated that the restoration will cost into six figures which will have to include restoring the tram body, interior and reinstalling electrical equipment. It will eventually be displayed at the Grampian Transport Museum but the Trust are also hopeful it may be possible to send it out on loan to other locations across the UK which would give the tantalising prospect of seeing an Aberdeen tram in operation once more. But that is very much in the long-term and for now the hard work really begins.