Replica of world’s first electric traction motor on show

By Hugh Dougherty

A WORKING replica of what is claimed to be the world’s first electric traction motor has gone on display at the Grampian Transport Museum.

The original was used as one of four, powering Robert Davidson’s electric locomotive, Galvani, which made history by running successfully on the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway in 1842. That was 37 years before Siemens’ electric tramway, often viewed as the first application of electricity to rail motive power, ran at the 1879 Berlin Exhibition.

The working replica of what may have been the world’s first electric traction motor. GRAMPIAN TRANSPORT MUSEUM

Museum curator Mike Ward had the motor replica, a replica of the electrical pioneer’s 20-cell battery, used to power the locomotive, and a model of Galvani, built as centrepieces of a new exhibition on electric traction.

The displays take the story, starting with Aberdeen University chemist, Davidson’s early machines, up to the present day.

Some of the material was gathered thanks to an earlier museum appeal in Heritage Railway, for information on Robert Davidson, considered by Mike to be a scientist overlooked when charting the development of electric road and rail vehicles.

Read more in Issue 243 of HR – on sale now!

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.