What will you discover today?

Our collection is filled with lots of fantastic pieces! There's so much to see here at the Grampian Transport Museum that we don't know where to begin!

Mack 6X6 Snowplough

This truck started life as an American military tank recovery tractor during the Second World War.  In the early 1960s it was bought by Aberdeen County Council and made into a snowplough.

American Mack military vehicles were widely used for heavy haulage, recovery, and specialist duties during dispersal after the war. In the late 1940s the Mack was sold to Hibble and Mellors Funfair of Nottingham and used to haul the fairground rides. The original 2-4mpg petrol engine was replaced by a more powerful 5 cylinder Gardiner unit.

When Aberdeen County Council obtained this vehicle another replacement engine, an AEC,  was fitted along with a Leyland ‘custom export’ cab and power steering. The dissolution of Aberdeen County Council saw the Mack pass to Grampian Regional Council in 1977.  This Mack was in service as a snowplough until 1985 when it was replaced by a more modern Magirus.

The Mack, although relatively primitive, was well respected by snowplough drivers for its enormous strength.  With snow chains on all wheels for extra traction they could deal with 10-15 foot drifts and several feet of level snow.  This vehicle saw 50 years of active service and now enjoys a well-earned retirement!

Birkhall - Stationary Engine

The Birkhall portable steam engine was built in 1942 by Marshall of Gainsborough to an order from the wartime Ministry of Supply. 

Portables were produced in large numbers from around 1840 and were used to drive farm machinery and as a general power source. Unlike a road locomotive or traction engine, power is not transmitted to the wheels. Portables were moved originally by teams of heavy horses and later by traction engine or tractor.

When the Birkhall was built, portables were already a past technology.  They enjoyed a brief resurrection during the last war, when oil was very scarce.  The Birkhall is one of the last to be built but is identical to its 19th century counterparts. 

The engine was used to power a sawmill at Birkhall on the Royal Balmoral Estate. After delivery, its wheels were removed and discarded and the engine was mounted on a fire brick base. The fire box was modified to burn sawdust and waste. The engine, in this semi-portable form, powered the mill until it closed in the early 1970s.

In 1985, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh donated the derelict engine to the museum and Balmoral Estates assisted with the cost of asbestos lagging removal. The wheels and undercarriage were discovered close by where they had been discarded, now surrounded by mature trees! In 1986, the engine was dismantled and transported to the museum.  Rigblast of Aberdeen blast-cleaned and primed the boiler and cylinder block and a lengthy fund raising appeal followed.

 His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended the first public steaming of the restored engine. He acknowledged, on behalf of the museum, the generosity of the numerous organisations and individuals that made the restoration possible.

Sentinel Steam Waggon

Sentinel number 753 was made by engineers Alley and MacLellan in Glasgow in 1914. It is the oldest Sentinel in existence and the only surviving Scottish built Sentinel waggon.

In 1905 Alley and MacLellan began to make steam waggons and soon captured a large share of the market with their undertype standard 4 ton waggon. Demand led to them relocating the waggon building to new purpose built works in Shrewsbury in 1916.

This Sentinel was sold new to Alexander Runcie, Carrier of Inverurie, and spent its working life in the locality.

By 1945 it was working with McIntosh of Forgue’s haulage fleet near Huntly and eventually was recovered from their yard, partly dismantled, in 1966 for preservation.

‘Standard’ Sentinels were remarkably simple and robust steam waggons that featured an efficient vertical boiler whose steam generating capacity, in the hands of an experienced fireman, gave the vehicle its advantage over its competitors. The small boiler ran at a relatively high pressure, 230 psi, and delivered superheated steam to the eight valve twin cylinder engine. To aid efficiency, exhaust steam preheated the boiler feed water to close to boiling in normal running conditions. Standard waggons were generally used with a trailer, enabling them to move loads of around 10 tons.

From the mid 1920s, the design was refined with the introduction of the Super Sentinel and later, the DG type (Double Geared). In final form, from 1934, the S type (shaft drive, 4 cylinder) featured full electrics and could run comfortably at 45 mph with up to 60 mph available.

The last batch of Sentinel steamers left the works in 1956, bound for Argentina. By this time, the company had begun production of undertype motor lorries.

G.N.S.R. Shand Mason Fire Pump

The first fire engine to use a steam pump to power the water hoses was developed by engineer, John Braithwaite in 1829.  Shand Mason were the first British fire appliance maker to successfully manufacture a steam fire engine in 1858.

This Shand Mason ‘Village Pattern’ fire pump was a small design which could be horse-drawn or pulled by hand depending on the location of the fire.

The pump was built in 1904 and purchased by the Great North of Scotland Railway. It was used as the main fire tender in the Inverurie Loco Works.  In 1966 the fire pump was acquired by Glasgow Museums.