Dundee horse tram 24 – believed to be the last remaining Dundee horse tram – has been returned to its home city after nearly a century of use as a summer house in Perth. The tram body was moved to the Dundee Museum of Transport – which itself is due to open the public on 26th April – over the weekend after several months of careful planning and although the tram will initially be displayed in “as found” condition it is hoped in the long-term – subject to funding – that it will undergo a full restoration.
Exact details of the origin of the tram are not known but volunteers from the Museum believe it is one of a batch of vehicles built in 1887 to be used on the horse tramway when it originally opened. It would have been withdrawn in the early part of the 20th century when the tram service went over to electric operation and was then sold off, which is how it came to end up in a garden in Perth – 19 miles away from its original home. The tram has been in Perth for at least 60 years but it is believed it may have been there for as many as 100 years and remarkably the original interior is intact.
Jimmy McDonnell, chairman of the Dundee Museum of Transport, told the BBC: “It’s one of the first built for Dundee and is almost certainly the last of its type to survive – and it’s one of the oldest surviving in Scotland. It has now lain in that garden for a long period of time – we can account for at least 60 years, but we believe it has been there for up to 100. It has been used as a summer house, but it still has its original interior which is astounding. When we found it in situ it was just about landlocked – the houses and an orchard have grown up around it.”
The move of the tram took place on Saturday 18th January and involved heavy moving experts to make sure that no damage was made to the body as it was lifted from its long term resting place. Mr McDonnell commented: “It weighed two tons and we had to lay a plastic road and get it on to a low loader with special lifting plant. We have people coming up from the British National Tram Museum to take a look at it because they are very interested in it.”
The Dundee Museum of Transport will be opening to the public at their current premises on Market Mews in the city on Saturday 26th April after almost four years of planning. In the long term it is planned that a permanent home for the Museum will be opened at the Maryfield Tram Depot with Heritage Lottery Funding being applied for. As well as the Dundee horse car body, Aberdeen tram 15 was moved there last year.