Victorian Railways Royal Train

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State Car 4 as preserved at the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre

The Victorian Railways Royal Train operated to transport members of the British Royal Family on their numerous tours of Australia on the Victorian Railways network. The same carriages were also used for a number of vice-regal trains for the Governor-General of Australia and the Governor of Victoria. The last Royal Train ran in 1988.


Royal trains usually operated with special carriage stock set aside for the purpose. Most trains operated with double headed locomotives to reduce the chance of the train being stranded due to locomotive failure, with a third locomotive running in front of the train to ensure the track was clear. A special headboard with the royal coat of arms was usually affixed to the front of the leading locomotive.


State Car 5 in storage at the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Interior of a sleeping compartment, used on a Royal Train in 1927

In the history of the Victorian Railways there were five special carriages designated for royal train and other special services, designated State Car 1 through to State Car 5.

The carriages were painted in the standard royal blue with gold trim of the Victorian Railways, with the exception of the 1988 Royal Tour. Operated by VR successor V/Line this trip was operated by two freshly cleaned, partially repainted (below footplate) & polished locomotives in the standard orange and grey livery, with the carriages painted in a one off 'executive' livery of grey and white, with orange and green trim.[1]

  • State Car 1 entered service in 1890 as Enterprise. It was renamed in 1900 and was scrapped in August 1956.[2]
  • State Car 2 and State Car 3 both entered service in 1901 and were both rebuilt for other uses in 1919.[3][4]
  • State Car 4 was built in 1912 based on the then state of the art wooden E type carriage design. It featured an observation balcony at one end, Governor's and Lady's bedrooms (which could be separated by doors), dining room, kitchen, Gents and Ladies bathrooms (each with bath, shower and toilet), and accommodation for ladies in waiting and other support staff. A total of 9 sleeping berths were provided.[5] This carriage is owned by VicTrack Heritage and is allocated to the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre collection.
  • State Car 5 was based on the steel air conditioned S type carriage design in 1951. A royal insignia was painted on each side.[6] The carriage featured a kitchen, lounge / dining area, two main bedrooms with ensuite (featuring bathroom with bath, basin, shower and toilet), two sleeping / sitting compartments for attendants, and a third bathroom. In 1954 it was displayed at the Centenary Exhibition.[7] It was repainted into the grey livery in 1988 for the Royal tour of the year, and has since been allocated to the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre collection.[8]
  • Mitta Mitta was converted from BRS 228 for use as a support carriage for State Car 5 on Vice Regal trains in 1994, but was never used in the role.[9] It was fitted with sleeping berths, bathroom, kitchen, and a dining and lounge area.
  • Norman (former Spirit of Progress parlor car) was also used on Royal trains.


Locomotive AA 548 decorated for a Royal Train in 1901
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, then the Duke and Duchess of York, on the balcony of State Car 4 in 1927


  1. ^ "Photo: Royal Tour 1988". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Special Stock - 'Enterprise' / State Car 1". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "Special Stock - 'State Car 2'". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  4. ^ "Special Stock - 'State Car 3'". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  5. ^ Chris Banger and Peter Medlin (August 1996). "Ninety years of the E cars". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. 236. 
  6. ^ "Special Stock - "State Car 5"". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Centenary Exhibition" Railway Gazette 17 September 1954 page 316
  8. ^ ""State Car No.5" - Victorian Railways". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  9. ^ "Commissioners' Train". Railpage Australia Forums. Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "History Victoria: State occasions" (PDF). Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  11. ^ "ARHS Railway Museum: History 1900 - 1950". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  12. ^ "A2 steam locomotive hauling royal train, Spencer Street Station 1927". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  13. ^ "A2.976 & 948 on Royal Train at Geelong. picture by". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  14. ^ "The Royal Train at Seymour. picture by". Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  15. ^ "D3s for a King's Son" Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin October 1970 pp221-227
  16. ^ Bruce McLean. "History Victoria: The Mildura Story" (PDF). Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  17. ^ ":: 707 Operations Inc - Steam Trains of Australia ::". Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  18. ^ "Victorian Railways Royal Train" Railway Gazette 18 December 1953 page 688
  19. ^ "Victorian Railways Royal Train Journeys" Railway Gazette 14 May 1954 page 554
  20. ^ "Queens Mother's Railway Journey" Railway Gazette 14 March 1958 page 300
  21. ^ "VR History". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  22. ^ "Ballarat: Royal Train". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  23. ^ "Rowsley: Royal Train". Retrieved 8 June 2008. 

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