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Maud Railway Museum on right track with £20k funding

By Kyle Ritchie

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Maud Railway Museum has received a £20,000 boost to help upgrade its facilities.

The visitor attraction, which is situated at Station Road, has been assisted by Museums Galleries Scotland.

The funding has been provided to museums which have been put at risk by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Maud volunteer group received £20,750 in total, which will be used to build new toilets so the building can comply with Covid-19 guidelines.

Chairman of the trustees of Friends of Maud Railway Museum Des Byrne said: "We are working with the council to bring the whole site up to a standard which is safe for families to visit.

"When we were thinking of opening after lockdown we realised in addition to the new measures we were going to need to provide the public with decent toilets.

"The old toilets at the end of the building were the original British Railways ones from the 1960s.

"In the 1980s accessible toilets became mandatory and was built into the museum area when it was first opened.

"We now need to have all the modern standards. In the light of that we carried out a risk assessment and we thought we can't really open until we have new toilets.

"We saw that there were grants available and we made an application to Museums Galleries Scotland and they thankfully and generously approved it."

Aberdeenshire Council is the owner of the building and the group has an agreement with the local authority's museums service to operate the railway museum.

Mr Byrne outlined that the work would be completed so the museum could open again in April. It usually opens one weekend a month over the summer through to October.

Ithas openings for schools, community groups and other interested parties. It also provides a service to walkers and cyclists using the Formartine and Buchan Way.

The museum has been unable to open this year because of the pandemic but volunteers have been busy doing work.

The toilets are one part of a bigger improvement project for the building.

Mr Byrne added: "The bothy on the platform had been partially restored and we are completing that.

"That will become an extra exhibit area for a display of railway lamps.

"The platform has been repaved to improve drainage because the building has been badly affected by flooding.

"We have also taken out the lease from Aberdeenshire Council for an extra part of the building, which will be a display of all the stations along the line. There will also be a video exhibition with the full story of the railway.

"There was a wonderful railway community in the north-east of Scotland, and there still is. People come here and we are almost like a centre for that.

"We have had fantastic support from Aberdeenshire Council. We really fell we are a community project, have a community to serve and a community that is behind us."

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has welcomed the funding for the group.

Ms Martin put forward a motion to the Scottish Parliament welcoming the investment.

She said: “I am delighted funding has been awarded to the Friends of Maud Railway Museum.

“This is a critical time and funding like this is essential to help support independent museums which have been put at risk by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I look forward to being able to visit the museum and seeing all the completed upgrades.”

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