A railway carriage which once transported convicts from Peterhead Prison to a nearby quarry is to be restored.
A £54,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award will enable volunteers from Maud Railway Museum to put the historic carriage on public display.
The funding was granted for the museum’s ‘Rocks, Rogues, Rails and Refuge’ project, which will tell the story of Peterhead’s harbour, the convicts who broke rocks and built the breakwaters, and the Government Railway through interactive displays, models and the restoration of the 1915 prison van.
The money will also be used to increase engagement with the local community - providing educational packs for schools and enabling additional training opportunities for volunteers.
Alex Salmond MSP wrote to the Heritage Lottery Fund last month in support of the museum’s application.
Welcoming the funding announcement, he said: “Maud Railway Museum is an important cultural resource, supported by a willing team of volunteers with a passion for keeping the history of the Buchan area alive.
“I was more than happy to offer my support for the project and I’m delighted that the museum has been successful in securing the funds required to put their exciting and ambitious plans into place. The Peterhead Prison-Quarry-Harbour line was Britain’s first state-owned railway in 1889 and of local and national importance.
“I would encourage all those seeking to explore an important chapter in Buchan’s history to visit the Museum.”
Chairperson of Friends of Maud Station Museum, Nigel Sawford commented: “We are over the moon that our application has been successful and look forward to expanding the Museum, which we hope will provide an even better experience for local people and tourists alike.
“The Museum is run by volunteers and we are always on the lookout for additional people to get involved. I would encourage anyone who wants to help out or simply wishes to find out more about what we do to contact me on 01261 861 762.”
Colin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “This is an extremely exciting project driven by the local residents of Buchan. It will provide training opportunities for volunteers, and opportunities for all the local community to explore and enjoy this unusual history on their doorstep.
“Maud Railway Museum is to be congratulated on its commitment to making heritage more accessible and we wish them every success with the project.”