King Charles makes first trip on royal train

By: News Desk
Published: 07:32 PM, 20 Jan, 2023
King Charles makes first trip on royal train
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The King has used the royal train for the first time since starting his reign, travelling to the city of Manchester, a leading UK paper reports.

Charles journeyed overnight from Ayr in Scotland, close to where the 18th-century property Dumfries House, part of The Prince's Foundation, is based. A group of local dignitaries were waiting to greet the King, who looked relaxed as he stepped from the locomotive.

The civic line-up included High Sheriff of Greater Manchester Lorraine Worsley-Carter, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

From a formica dining table to '70s-style baths and a sparse room with single beds, the King was not surrounded by five-star luxury the royal train.

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to travel by train, leaving Slough at noon on June 13, 1842, and travelling to London's Paddington Station.

Victoria had been persuaded onboard by Prince Albert, a veteran of rail travel fascinated by the new technology.  Since the Victorian era, the royal family has enjoyed its own train, with the present royal carriages coming into service for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The royal train travel was once the height of luxury during the reign of Queen Victoria.

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The carriages were later remounted on a twelve-wheel bogie underframe.  The London & North Western Railway built the Queen Victoria Saloon for her, which was said to be her favourite and was not removed from the train until after her death.

The coach contained the Queen's day and night compartments, as well as toilet facilities and accommodation for her ladies-in-waiting. It was seen as a privilege to ride the train with the Queen, and the second bed in the compartment was reserved for one of the royal princesses.

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The train was often updated to suit the monarch's taste until she was gifted another six-coaches-long train to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. After her death in 1901, the train carried Queen Victoria's coffin to Windsor.

Her son King Edward VII commissioned new saloons for the train after he ascended the throne in 1901, which included a smoking room made of mahogany and a lavish saloon with green velvet upholstery.  

King George V updated the train ten years later, following his father's passing by commissioning a bathroom with a bathtub be fitted on the train. The bathroom was equipped with his Majesty's bathtub, carpeted floors and pink curtains. A red line in the tub indicated how much water could be drawn without spillage.

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Bathrooms can still be found aboard the train together, however, they have been updated during the coaches' last refurbishment in the late 1970s-80s. Nowadays, the royal train holds nine carriages, which include bedrooms, dining rooms, and a study which has been used by the late Queen and King Charles.

Before the Prince and Princess of Wales hopped onboard for a last-minute UK tour on December 6 from December 8, in 2020 the train had not been used since 2018, when it transported the Queen and the then-future Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, to Chester for their first ever joined royal engagement.

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