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Historic Aberdeen turntable to get new lease of life

The Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust has reached an agreement with Network Rail to overhaul the railway turntable near the Duthie Park. David Clucas (front) and Gordon Simpson. Picture by Colin Rennie
The Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust has reached an agreement with Network Rail to overhaul the railway turntable near the Duthie Park. David Clucas (front) and Gordon Simpson. Picture by Colin Rennie

An historic piece of Aberdeen’s locomotive heritage is on track for an award of almost £300,000 as part of a restoration project which will allow steam trains to regularly visit the city for the first time in decades.

The “extremely rare” steel turntable and engine shed in Ferryhill have been awarded £298,158 by Scottish Government agency Historic Scotland as part of its latest £1.6 million round of funding for eight projects across the country.

Dating back to 1907, the steel turntable is one of only three still in existence in Scotland and is classified as a Category A listed structure.

The former Caledonian engine shed is a Category B listed building, completed around 1852.

Together they formed the core of the Aberdeen Ferryhill Locomotive Depot until its closure in 1987.

The project aims to repair and restore the structures in order to create a visitor attraction that would include a small museum and workshop.

Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust will now be responsible for raising the remaining £400,000 to help the scheme become a reality.

Members are now appealing for donations.

Gordon Simpson, safety officer for the group, said: “Steam locomotive hauled trains still run through Aberdeen.

“But because the turntable is not currently operational here, a very complex and expensive series of positioning moves are required to get locomotives between their base and Aberdeen.

“The restoration of the Ferryhill turntable will eliminate that expense.

“Just now we get about two steam trains through Aberdeen but we hope we could raise that to eight.

“I think it could be something quite big for the city.”

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs, said: “This scheme helps to protect and promote, as well as transform and bring back into use, some of Scotland’s most historically and architecturally significant structures and buildings.

“Across the country, historic buildings which played an important role in our past also have an important role to play in our future, with schemes such as these helping to tell a new chapter in the building and its surrounding community’s future.”

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