British Royal Train
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (November 2010)|
The Royal Train is a set of railway carriages dedicated for the use of the British Monarch, other members of the Royal Family, and their staff. The train enables members of the Royal Family to carry out busy schedules over an extended period, in a secure environment which minimises disruption and inconvenience to the public, whilst providing accommodation, communication, staff and office facilities.
Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to travel by train, on 13 June 1842 on the Great Western Railway (GWR), which ran the line between London and Windsor (for the Castle). Nearly sixty years later, after her funeral in 1901, Queen Victoria's coffin was taken to London Paddington station and transported on the Royal Train.
After the formation of British Railways in 1948, the individual regions continued to maintain the constituent railway companies' Royal Train carriages. A single "Royal Train" was formed in 1977 as a response to the demands of the Silver Jubilee. The Royal Family have also travelled on ordinary service trains more frequently in recent years to minimise costs.
The train currently consists of nine carriages, seven of these being of the British Rail Mark 3 design, including two that were built for the prototype HST train. Not all of these will be used to form a train, as different vehicles have specified purposes. Two locomotives are designated for use on the train and painted in the claret livery of the royal household, but are used for other traffic when not hauling the royal train. The carriages may be used for other Heads of State, but they cannot be hired by private users. When not in use, the train is stored in Wolverton, where it is maintained by an Alstom subsidiary.
Train drivers are specially selected based on their skills, including the ability to make a station stop within six inches of the designated position.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
The Royal Train has had a very good service record. However, Gerald Fiennes wrote in his autobiography I Tried to Run a Railway of one incident on the Eastern Region when an ex-LNER A4 class 4-6-2 was used to pull the Royal Train. The first vehicle was a BR Midland Region generator van, and the difference between the 'buckeye' couplings on the A4 and on the van was about 4". Various attempts to separate the couplings failed, leading the crew to couple the station pilot (standing at the rear of the train) to couple up and apply the brakes. The A4's regulator was then opened to full cut-off, resulting in the engine breaking free from the generator van and rushing off up the track. Most likely the standard three-link chain coupling was used instead of the 'buckeye' couplings on the two vehicles, which would have required repairs due to the various attempts to break them apart.
Locomotives nominated for the Royal Train
Although railways often had nominated locomotives for hauling the Royal Train (with special high maintenance regimes), no locomotives were dedicated solely to the train until the 1980s, when two Class 47 locomotives were painted in the claret livery of the Royal Household. During the 1990s these were dedicated solely to Royal Train duty until they were replaced in 2003 by two Class 67 locomotives, both operated by EWS (now DB Schenker Rail). The new locomotives are often used for special charter train services and on other occasional passenger services when not required. Occasionally the Royal Train is hauled by other engines.
Locomotives nominated for working the Royal Train have included:
- 1990–2004: Class 47 47834 Fire Fly and 47835 Windsor Castle (in InterCity livery) and later refurbished, renumbered and renamed 47798 Prince William and 47799 Prince Henry (in Royal claret). Both are now withdrawn: the former is preserved at the National Railway Museum, York and the latter is at the Eden Valley Railway, Warcop.
- Since 2004: Class 67 67005 Queen's Messenger and 67006 Royal Sovereign (in Royal claret). Since 2012 an extra locomotive, Class 67 67026 Diamond Jubilee (in Diamond Jubilee silver), has been allocated to Royal duties.
In the pre-preservation era, the Royal Train was always hauled by steam locomotives for the relevant British Rail region. Examples of royal trains hauled by preserved steam are as follows. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland (an LMS Princess Coronation Class 4-6-2), 6024 King Edward I (a GWR 'King' Class 4-6-0), and 60163 Tornado (a new LNER-design Peppercorn A1 4-6-2).
On 11 June 2002, the restored 6233 Duchess of Sutherland was the first steam locomotive to haul the Royal Train for 35 years, transporting Queen Elizabeth II on a tour to North Wales, from Holyhead to Llandudno Junction, as part of her Golden Jubilee. The trip also marked the 160th anniversary of the first Royal train in 1842.
On 22 March 2005 Duchess of Sutherland again hauled the Royal Train, the second time for a steam locomotive in 40 years, transporting the Prince of Wales from Settle to Carlisle over the Settle-Carlisle Railway. The trip marked the 25th anniversary of the formation of the "Friends of the Settle and Carlisle" pressure group. On the trip, the Prince spent a 15-minute spell behind the controls of the locomotive.
On 10 June 2008, 6024 King Edward I hauled the Royal Train, transporting the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on board, from Kidderminster Town to Bridgnorth, on a visit to the Severn Valley Railway. Once again The Prince of Wales took the controls of the locomotive for a period.
On 19 February 2009 the Royal Train was hauled by the first standard-gauge steam locomotive to be built in Britain in over 40 years, 60163 Tornado, an LNER-design Peppercorn Class A1 4-6-2, with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on board, the Prince travelling in the cab.
Royal Train carriages
The table below lists Royal Train carriages in chronological order to 1977. Where a separate date is shown for building, the vehicle was converted rather than built new.
|Key:||In service||Withdrawn||Preserved||Returned to normal traffic||Departmental use||Scrapped|
|Number(s)||Introduced||Original owner||Withdrawn||Notes on use||Current location|
|2||1842||London and Birmingham Railway||1850||Queen Adelaide's saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|- (LMS 802)||1869||London and North Western Railway||1902||Queen Victoria's saloon. Originally two vehicles until combined on one underframe in 1895.||National Railway Museum, York|
|229 / 9001||1874||Great Western Railway||1912||Queen Victoria's saloon||Small section at National Railway Museum, York|
|10||1877||London and South Western Railway||1925||Prince of Wales' Saloon||Stoborough|
|8||1881 (Built 1877)||Great Eastern Railway||1897 (To passenger stock)||Prince of Wales' Saloon||Embsay|
|17||1887 (Built 1885)||London and South Western Railway||1913 (To passenger stock)||Saloon||Unknown|
|153||1897||Belfast and County Down Railway||?||Saloon||Downpatrick|
|233 / 9002||1897||Great Western Railway||1930||Diamond Jubilee train saloon||Swindon|
|234 / 9003||1897||Great Western Railway||1930||Diamond Jubilee train saloon||Barry|
|5||1898||Great Eastern Railway||1925 (To departmental stock)||Princess of Wales' Saloon||Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway|
|1||1901 (Built 1898)||Great North of Scotland Railway||1910 (To passenger stock)||Saloon||Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway|
|- (LMS 800)||1902||London and North Western Railway||1947||Edward VII's saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|- (LMS 801)||1902||London and North Western Railway||1947||Queen Alexandra's saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|72 / 5072 / 10504 / 804||1903||London and North Western Railway||1948||Semi-Royal saloon, used by Winston Churchill during World War II||Scrapped 1998|
|74 / 5074 / 10506 / 806||1903||London and North Western Railway||1971||Semi-Royal saloon||Bluebell Railway|
|82 / 109||1908||East Coast Joint Stock||1977||Royal Train brake van||National Railway Museum, York|
|395||1908||East Coast Joint Stock||1977||Edward VII's saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|396||1908||East Coast Joint Stock||1977||Queen Alexandra's saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|1910 / 809||1912||Midland Railway||1951 (To passenger stock)||George V's saloon. In passenger stock 1923–33, numbered 2795||Midland Railway - Butterley|
|10070 / 5154||1924 (Built 1905)||London, Midland and Scottish Railway||1977||Staff car with generators in brake van||National Railway Museum, Shildon|
|10071 / 5155||1924 (Built 1905)||London, Midland and Scottish Railway||1977||Staff couchette||National Railway Museum, Shildon|
|798||1941||London, Midland and Scottish Railway||1977||George VI's armoured saloon||Museum of Transport, Glasgow|
|799||1941||London, Midland and Scottish Railway||1977||Queen Elizabeth's (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) armoured saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|31209 / 2910||1941||London, Midland and Scottish Railway||1989||Staff sleeper with generator, retained for post-1977 train||Scrapped 1991|
|9006||1945||Great Western Railway||1984||Queen Elizabeth's (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) Saloon||Midland Railway - Butterley|
|9007||1945||Great Western Railway||1984||Queen Elizabeth's (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) Saloon||National Railway Museum, York|
|45000 / 2911||1948 (Built 1920)||British Railways||1990||Saloon, retained for post-1977 train||Midland Railway - Butterley|
|45005||1948 (Built 1942)||British Railways||1977||Saloon||Fawley Hill|
|45006 / 2912||1948 (Built 1942)||British Railways||1989||Saloon, retained for post-1977 train||Scrapped 1991|
|2900||1955||British Railways||1994||Royal Family lounge, bedrooms and bathroom, retained for post-1977 train||Preserved, Fawley Hill Railway|
|499 / 2902||1956||British Railways||1994||Royal Family dining car with kitchen, retained for post-1977 train||Preserved, Midland Railway - Butterley|
|2901||1957||British Railways||1994||Royal Household office, bedrooms and bathrooms, retained for post-1977 train||Preserved, Bressingham Steam Museum|
|2013 / 2908||? (Built 1958)||British Railways||1984||Staff sleeper, retained for post-1977 train||Preserved, Southall Railway Museum|
|325 / 2907||? (Built 1961)||British Railways||1993 (To passenger stock)||Staff dining car with kitchen, retained for post-1977 train||In passenger stock as number 325|
Fleet from 1977
In 1977, the Royal Train was considerably changed to update it for use during Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee celebrations. A number of new carriages were added to the train, and old ones either refurbished or withdrawn. Since this time all Royal Train vehicles have been painted Royal Claret and numbered in a dedicated series commencing at 2900.
The new 1977 vehicles were converted Mark 3 carriages originally built for the prototype High Speed Train (HST) in the early 1970s. The new formation has a higher maximum speed, depending on the locomotive, an important factor if slots are to be found for the train on crowded main lines.
Following the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981, the honeymoon royal train configuration was formed with inspection saloon 975025 Caroline.
The table below lists all the vehicles used in the fleet since 1977 in numerical order.
|Key:||In service||Withdrawn||Preserved||Returned to normal traffic||Departmental use||Scrapped|
|Number||Previous numbers||Converted||Intended use||Current location|
|2900||-||New (1955)||Royal Family lounge, bedrooms and bathroom||Preserved, Fawley Hill Railway|
|2901||-||New (1957)||Royal Household office, bedrooms and bathrooms||Preserved, Bressingham Steam Museum|
|2902||499||New (1956)||Royal Family dining car with kitchen; renumbered 1977||Preserved, Midland Railway - Butterley|
|2903||11001||1977||HM The Queen's lounge, bedroom and bathroom||In service|
|2904||12001||1977||HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's lounge, bedroom and bathroom||In service|
|2905||14105||1977||Royal Household couchette, diesel generator & brake van||Returned to ordinary passenger stock, 17105|
|2906||14112||1977||Royal Household couchette||To departmental service, 977969|
|2907||325||1977||Royal Household dining car with kitchen||Returned to ordinary passenger stock, 325|
|2908||2013||1977||Royal Household sleeper||Preserved, Southall Railway Museum|
|2909||2500||1981||Royal Household sleeper||Withdrawn, West Coast Railway Company, Carnforth|
|2910||M31209M||New (1941)||Royal Household sleeper, generator & brake van; renumbered 1983||Scrapped (1991)|
|2911||LNWR 5000, M45000M||New (1920)||Special saloon; renumbered 1983||Preserved, Midland Railway - Butterley|
|2912||M45006M||New (1942)||Special saloon; renumbered 1983||Scrapped (1991)|
|2914||10734||1985||Royal Household sleeping car||Returned to ordinary passenger stock, 10734|
|2915||10735||1985||Royal Household sleeping car||In service|
|2916||40512||1986||Royal Family dining car with kitchen||In service|
|2917||40514||1986||Royal Household dining car with kitchen||In service|
|2918||40515||1986||Royal Household car||Stored|
|2919||40518||1986||Royal Household car||Stored|
|2920||14109, 17109||1986||Royal Household couchette, diesel generator & brake van||In service|
|2921||14107, 17107||1986||Royal Household couchette, kitchen & brake van||In service|
|2922||–||New (1987)||HRH The Prince of Wales's sleeping car||In service|
|2923||–||New (1987)||HRH The Prince of Wales's saloon||In service|
Royal Train use
|2011||31 March 2011||14||931||£900,000|
|2010||31 March 2010||19||751||£1,000,000|
|2009||31 March 2009||14||696||£800,000|
|2008||31 March 2008||19||755||£900,000|
|2007||31 March 2007||11||655||£700,000|
|2006||31 March 2006||14||700||£600,000|
|2005||31 March 2005||19||691||£700,000|
|2004||31 March 2004||18||736||£800,000|
Although this type of travel is expensive compared to scheduled services, the train enables members of the Royal Family to carry out busy schedules over an extended period, in a secure environment that minimises disruption and inconvenience to the public and provides accommodation and office facilities. On at least one occasion, The Prince of Wales has conducted a dinner meeting on board the train. Some members of Parliament have argued that the Royal Train, like the Royal Yacht, is an expensive under-used relic. However, the train is recognised as being a very secure way for the octogenarian queen to complete overnight trips. The cost of the Royal Train when it was introduced in 1977 for The Queen's Silver Jubilee was £1.9 million (£10,299,608 as of 2015), and has since been considerably reduced. Edward Leigh, the Conservative chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the Royal Train was twice as expensive as using air travel but hardly luxurious. He said, "It's a rather Formica-laminated affair. I don't think it's that grand or that comfortable." It appears that much of the public that has a sentimental view of the train and would like to see it used for the Diamond Jubilee in June 2012 after its use for the Silver Jubilee and the Golden Jubilee.
In the financial year 2011 the Royal Train was used for 14 trips, averaging 931 miles. Ten trips were by The Prince of Wales, and four by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. Nineteen nights were spent on the train during the course of the 14 trips. To control costs, Parliament permits the Royal Train to be used only by The Queen with The Duke of Edinburgh, or The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
- Royal train
- Air transport of the Royal Family and government of the United Kingdom
- Royal yacht
- Official state car
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Royal Train.|
- About the British Royal Train from HM Website
- Inside the Queen's travelling bedroom mobile home (extensive photos)
- Royal Express is more Pizza than Orient , a description of the fixtures and fittings from The Scotsman, 2002
- Details of Royal Train diesel workings from 1968 to 1984
- Flickr Group : "Clerestory Coaches (Railways)" with pictures of many historical UK Royal coaches, of Clerestory design. The wider collection includes coaches used from some Royal ovserseas tours, together with many other countries' Royal and Presidential trains, including many built during the 19th Century.
- The Royal Train, Monarchy of the United Kingdom. Accessed 31 December 2007.
- "THE PROCESSION IN LONDON.; SCENE AT VICTORIA STATION. THE FUNERAL TRAIN ARRIVES. THE ROYAL MOURNERS. KAISER EASILY RECOGNIZED. AT PADDINGTON STATION.", The New York Times, 3 February 1901. Accessed 31 December 2007.
- Chamberlain, Gethin. "Royal Express is more Pizza than Orient", The Scotsman, 4 May 2002. Accessed 31 December 2007.
- In preservation examples include the visit of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway on 10 July 2008: "Full steam ahead on the royal railway". The Telegraph and Argus.
- The Railway Magazine (December 2008): p.7. Missing or empty
- "Royal couple name new steam train". BBC News Online. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009..
- "Jubilee tour diary: Wales walkabout". BBC News Online. 13 June 2002. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- "The Queen's Golden Jubilee Journal". Insight Magazine. www.thedukeofyork.org.
- "HRH spends a day in Cumbria and Yorkshire". www.princeofwales.gov.uk. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- "Prince Charles takes steam train". BBC News Online. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- "Prince to take control of SVR train". Wolverhampton Express and Star. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- "The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Severn Valley Railway". Bewdley Station. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- "Tornado pulls Royal Train into MOSI". MOSI. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Newby, Howard; Railway Heritage Committee (12 October 2009). Artefacts Sub-committee (PDF). Annual Report 2008–2009 (Report): 7,9. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Railway Heritage Committee (13 March 2009). "Designation of 'Caroline' – 12.12.08". News. Department for Transport. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
- "Royal train's inside story". BBC News. 4 September 2002. Retrieved 31 December 2009.