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Explore Scotland's Railway History

Registered Museum

Scottish Railway Exhibition (Photo : Margaret Haynes) The Scottish Railway Exhibition was opened in 1995 in a purpose-built 15,000 sq. foot exhibition hall beside Bo'ness Station. The building has 850ft of display tracks, on which stand a wide variety of vehicles, mainly goods wagons illustrating the diversity of traffic which the railways once carried. Coal, seed potatoes, fish, wooden crates and barrels, gunpowder and even an Army tank, general and special wagons for these and other goods are presented for the enjoyment of visitors. Display boards provide background information and period photographs show the railway as it was when the wagons were built. And you can try to imagine what it was like to ride at the end of the Carlisle freight in the Caledonian Railway brake van!

Scottish Railway Exhibition (Photo : Margaret Haynes) In 2002 a 19,000 sq.ft. extension was opened to the public. This building can accommodate the equivalent of 12 bogie carriages and includes a demonstration workshop, where visitors can see conservation work in progress. Building work began in late February 2000, and the extension was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, Falkirk Council, the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and the Scottish Museums Council. The Scottish Railway Exhibition is now called the Museum of Scottish Railways.

The construction dates of the wagons range from 1862 to 1963. Designs show 100 years of progress, from solid wooden buffers to self contained hydraulics, from no brake to air brake, from grease axleboxes to roller bearings. And yet throughout the period, the wagons remain small, to fit the railway infrastructure, and by the 1960's were competing for traffic with large articulated lorries!
Scottish Railway Exhibition (Photo : Margaret Haynes)

The display includes locomotives, passenger coaches and wagons. Coaches on display include Scotland's only Royal Saloon, which was built in 1897 by the Great North of Scotland Railway, and both the Caledonian Railway coaches which were restored by the Scottish Region of British Railways in 1958. Scotland's oldest surviving wagon (a rectangular tank wagon) is displayed, along with numerous other types illustrating a hundred years of progress and a wide variety of cargoes.

When you visit Bo'ness, don't miss the Museum of Scottish Railways which offers a unique exploration of 100 years of railways and is open every day from 25 March to 30 October (11.00 - 16.30). And you can touch if you like!

Further details of the exhibits can be found on the Scottish Railway Preservation Society Collections Website.

For further information phone :
01506 825855 (Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm)
or write to
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society
Bo'ness Station, Union Street, Bo'ness, West Lothian EH51 9AQ

or E-mail Museum

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