CILT members pose in front of Glasgow Corporation Transport tram 672 inside the new museum.
© John G. Fender 2011
Glasgow has a long and rich transport history, ranging from ship and steam locomotive building through vehicle manufacturing to it's famous tramway system. The city opened the third underground railway system in the world in 1896 and had an extensive railway network.
Today, the city still has an extensive rail network, the subway and a motorway network. However, the shipbuilding has all but gone and locomotives are no longer built in the city. The city's heritage is an important part of life and Glasgow's museums are world famous.
The Transport museum, originally housed in part of the old tramcar works moved to the Kelvin Hall, but this was limited and the decision was taken to build a completely new museum for the transport collection.
The world renowned architect Zaha Hadid, was responsible for the striking design for the new museum which has been described as an "architectural masterpiece".
The museum is built on the site of Pointhouse Quay, part of the city's old dock complex, with work commencing in 2007. By 2008, work on the foundations and steelwork was well under way and the building was completed in late 2010. The museum opens on 21 June 2011. The Scottish Region was privileged to be able to have a preview of the museum on 11 June 2011.
One of the "streets" inside the new museum.
© John G. Fender 2011
Arriving at the main entrance visitors see the oldest electric tramcar in the museum, the single deck "But and Ben" tram 872 dating from 1898. There is also the first of the "streets" that have been recreated, this covering the period 1895 - 1930 and incorporating shops and an underground station recreated as it looked during the period.
Railway locomotives are also a feature of this area. Another feature of this area is the Ford Granada police car and other vehicles.
Moving further into the museum and visitors can see a "Cunarder" tramcar, vintage cars and fire engines. A notable feature of this area is a bicycle velodrome suspended from the ceiling and a wall of motorcycles.
This leads into two more streets, one covering the period 1930 - 1960 and the other the period 1960 - 1980. Exhibits here include an "Standard" tram and an Albion bus, along with cars and other vehicles from these periods.
Moving on one can see more trams and trains and the centre piece of the next section is the South African Locomotive that was built in Glasgow and exported to south Africa in 1945. It was one of 60 built by the North British Locomotive Company at Springburn and was in service until 1988.
Highland Railway locomotive 103 on display inside the new museum, with other locomtives also on display.
© John G. Fender 2011
It was brought back to Glasgow in 2007 and has undergone extensive restoration work. Another notable feature of this area is the wall of cars. There are also displays of bicycles and other transport artifacts as well as more interesting vehicles.
Upstairs visitors can experience the "ship conveyor" and there are ship models reflecting Glasgow's rich shipbuilding history throughout the museum. There are interactive and video displays throughout the museum. There is even a "Star Wars" display and display of shoes and boots.
The museum has both a cafe and coffee shop with internet area along with a well stocked museum shop with an impressive selection of books and other items.
The CILT party was able to inspect many exhibits and although some areas were sill not open, it was a most enjoyable experience. The staff on duty were very helpful and answered questions on the museum and exhibits.
There is something for everyone and for anyone interested in transport, it is one of these "must visit" places. Also worth a visit is the SV Glenlee, now moored alongside the new museum, although there is an entry fee. Entry to the Riverside Museum is free as is entry to Glasgow's other civic museums.
The Scottish Region would like to thank Glasgow Life for enabling the preview visit and John Yellowlees for making the arrangements.
Report & Photographs by John Fender.
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