Museums for Family Historians – Transport & Communications

The first railway in Scotland was the Monkton & Kirkintilloch Railway, opened in 1826. By 1850, the country’s major cities were linked, and by 1900 almost every town had a railway station. The network was also of vital importance to industry for freight transport. The Transport Act of 1947 nationalised UK railways and by the late 1950s, they were running at a loss. The Beeching Report resulted in mass track closures but train use has now revived and many lines and stations have re-opened.

Scotland has five canals, built between 1768 and 1822, mainly to transport coal and iron around the country. After 1900, their use diminished with the impact of the railways, and the network was nationalised in 1948. Although many stretches were lost to motorway construction, by the 1990s their potential was being realised and steps have been taken to reverse the decline and bring the canals back into public use.

Scotland’s aviation history started with a manned hydrogen balloon in 1785. 150 years later, a group of men acquired a site at Monkton, near Prestwick where they founded a flying school under the name Scottish Aviation. At the beginning of WW2, the RAF took over the airfield and developed it to handle US aircraft. After the war, Scottish Aviation expanded into aircraft manufacturing. In 1977, the company was merged with the British Aircraft Corporation and nationalised to form British Aerospace.

Scotland has a history of other forms of transport and communications – why not visit the museums and find out!

Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum

  • Address: Former Control Tower, Heathhall Industrial Estate, Dumfries DG1 3PH
  • Tel: 01387 251623
  • E-mail: (Contact form online)
  • Website:

Dundee Museum of Transport

  • Address: 10 Market Mews, Market Street, Dundee DD1 3LA
  • Tel: 01382 455196
  • E-mail: (Contact form online)
  • Website:

Glenfinnan Station Museum

Grampian Transport Museum

Insch Connection Museum

Linlithgow Canal Centre Museum

Maud Railway Museum

  • Address: The Railway Station, Station Road, Maud, Peterhead AB42 5LY
  • Tel: 01771 613874
  • E-mail: (Contact form online)
  • Website:

Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre

Museum of Communication

Museum of Scottish Railways

Myreton Motor Museum

National Museum of Flight

Orkney Wireless Museum

Riverside Museum

Scottish Industrial Railway Centre

Scottish Vintage Bus Museum

Strathspey Railway Museum

[Image: Pixabay by javipolinario]

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