Enthusiasts at a north-east railway heritage centre have expressed delight at how their dreams appear to be on track as their museum prepares for expansion.
The Friends of Maud Railway Museum yesterday welcomed the arrival of two track panels to the north-east.
The brace of 30ft long and 8ft wide panels, complete with concrete sleepers and which weigh six tons each, were donated to the museum by Network Rail.
Once at the site at Maud Station, the tracks will be used to create a better exhibit of some of the museum’s rolling stock such as their prison wagon which was formerly used to transport convicts from Peterhead Prison to the Stirlinghill Quarry at Boddam.
Trustee Alan Sangster said he was thrilled to see the two panels delivered which would allow the museum development to continue.
He added: “We’re going to have the tracks set up at Maud station once they are delivered.
“We’ve got rolling stock with which we can create rolling exhibits.
“In the future, we hope to get more rolling stock such as a passenger carriage to show was the rail line would have been like in the past.
“We’ve also recently been granted funding by the Buchan Area Initiative to fund us taking over the refreshment room at the station so we can expand.
“That space will be used to play videos and show some visual displays.
“Having these tracks and the funding is a big step forward – we’re trying to do a lot for the area and draw people in, so we’ve also got an open-air tour sign-posted for people to walk around and see the local rail heritage outside of the museum.”
He also praised the generosity of local firms who stepped in to help after the trustees launched an appeal to transport the items from Crewe.
Aberdeen and north-east based haulier ARR Craib Transport Limited transported the panels to company Savoch Plant Hire near Lonmay who will take the tracks on their final journey and install them at the museum.
But Mr Sangster admitted laying the tracks at the station, which used to serve as the junction to the rail links to Peterhead and Fraserburgh from further south, was just the start of their grand five-year plans.
He said: “It may be a pipe dream, but we’re working to reinstate the Maud to Auchnagatt railway line to run as a heritage railway.
“All of the infrastructure and bridges are still there, so it’s a big dream, but these tracks are bringing us closer to that.”