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Prince Charles And The Age Of The (Royal) Train

February 22, 2017

By Paul Homewood




From the Telegraph:


Since the reign of Queen Victoria its well upholstered carriages and trusty locomotives have ferried members of the Royal Family the length and breadth of the country.

However, the expense of running the Royal Train led to questions from MPs over its continuing use and it was revealed in 2013 that it would soon have to be scrapped.

But The Telegraph can now reveal that the Royal Train is to continue into the foreseeable future.

The Queen is understood to have made it known that the train is her preferred mode of transport, and that she believes it to be a cost-effective and convenient way for the royal family to travel.

Tests were then carried out on the carriages, which revealed the train’s demise had been greatly exaggerated.

The Queen with Prince Andrew (right) and Prince Edward (centre) in a compartment of the Royal Train before departure from London in December 1965

The Queen with Prince Andrew (right) and Prince Edward (centre) in a compartment of the Royal Train before departure from London in December 1965 Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images

Instead of being ready for the scrapyard, Palace sources said the Royal Train was found to be in far better condition than previously thought. The source added there was now “no end in sight” to its use.

There were doubts over the train’s future when Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, told a committee of MPs four years ago that the current rolling stock, mostly dating from the 1970s, had only five to ten years of service life left.

After that, he said, the prospect of replacing it would be a “major decision”, adding: “The figures are quite staggering.”

But with memories still fresh of the fate of the Royal Yacht Britannia – which was retired in 1997 to the Queen’s tearful distress -  further tests were carried out on the train’s rolling stock.

The Royal Train at Wolverton Works, near Milton Keynes

The Royal Train at Wolverton Works, near Milton Keynes Credit: Phil Marsh

As a result it was discovered that its life could be extended by many years and that with further efficiency savings the train’s running costs could be reduced.

The Royal Train cost £800,000 in running and maintenance last year, down from £900,000 the previous year. It makes between around 15 trips annually at an estimated £52 per mile, compared with £12 per mile by air.

There was criticism after it was revealed a one-way trip between Windsor and York made by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2012 cost £20,221. As a result, the Queen has increasingly travelled on public trains in recent years to save money.

The latest royal account show that in 2015-2016 13 trips were made by members of the Royal family  – seven by the Prince of Wales, five by the Queen and one by the Duke of Edinburgh alone, at a total cost of nearly £250,000, including a trip by Prince Charles from Ayr to Yorkshire and back to Aberdeen, costing £33,249.

It was last used by a Royal on January 24 and 25 to transport the Prince of Wales from Edinburgh to Leicester and on to Loughborough for a series of royal engagements, including a visit to Mountsorrel Railway and Rothley Community Heritage Centre, before being returned to Wolverton.



Now I have no objection at all to the Queen using the Royal Train as much as she wants. It clearly affords her a good deal of comfort as she travels around the country, something she thoroughly deserves at her age.

But even she has realised that it is better to make trips by public trains where possible.

Is it not astonishing then that Prince Charles, who wants us to abandon much of our modern lifestyle to save us all from global warming, actually uses the train more than his mother does?

If he is so concerned about climate change, perhaps next time he might consider doing what the Queen does, and go by Intercity.

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    February 22, 2017 1:51 pm

    I’m no train buff, but wouldn’t it be possible to add one of the carriages to regular scheduled train?

  2. February 22, 2017 2:00 pm

    Prince Chuckles is not amused at the suggestion he goes by horse.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 22, 2017 5:43 pm

      Camilla would get tired.

      • AlecM permalink
        February 22, 2017 6:46 pm

        She’s always nagging him?

  3. Athelstan permalink
    February 22, 2017 2:33 pm

    In ancient Indian proverb……………..he, want um Iron horse to go to work then, he has horse wallop for brains.

  4. Derek Buxton permalink
    February 22, 2017 2:51 pm

    Hypocracy raises its ugly head yet again, and from the man of man made global warming. Hillarious if it were not so stupid.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 22, 2017 2:53 pm

    Declare the train a national treasure and send young teens on trips from one end of GB to the other. Riding on a nice train is a great way to see the countryside. Money well spent.
    Otherwise, children will grow up not knowing what a real passenger train is.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      February 23, 2017 2:47 pm

      Love the idea, how about adding pensioners to the trips?
      The clown-prince makes me even prouder to be a republican.

    • February 26, 2017 2:48 pm

      Getting rid of the Train, is getting rid of history. Is this what the re-mourners want? Erase British History?

  6. Steve Crook permalink
    February 22, 2017 4:59 pm

    What a stupid article bereft of thought, clearly part of the fake news epidemic sweeping the globe. Any fool knows that it’s not possible to do one’s best work saving the planet if one arrives at one’s destination hot, sweaty and irritable having had to share space with one’s subjects.

  7. February 22, 2017 9:00 pm

    That is a tiny fraction of what it costs to move the US president about.. Seems well worth it from a security point of view. Should have the younger royals do some whistle stop tours.

    • rapscallion permalink
      February 23, 2017 9:01 am

      It’s also a tiny fraction of the costs to move the EU Parliament from Berlaymont to Strasbourg and vicky verky, but that’s alright apparently!

  8. February 23, 2017 9:11 am

    ‘There was criticism after it was revealed a one-way trip between Windsor and York made by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2012 cost £20,221.’

    Is this the model for all UK public rail fares 😉

    • February 23, 2017 10:07 am

      It would seem so…. today Bristol >> Glasgow £153 single (7h45m) – EasyJet £28 single (1h10m) ( – and it’s safe to assume I think that the rail fare is subsidised….

      • February 26, 2017 4:34 pm

        They should offer the Queen a flight deal…QueasyJet 😉

  9. Graeme No.3 permalink
    February 23, 2017 12:19 pm

    You haven’t costed the alternative for Charles to go by biofueled Aston Martin.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      February 23, 2017 2:49 pm

      He could use the royal bike, good exercise too …. no further comments!

  10. duker permalink
    February 24, 2017 4:22 am

    The Queen , Duke and Prince of Wales have their own dedicated carriages
    2903 Mk3- HM The Queen’s Saloon (formerly FO 11001)
    2904 Mk3- HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Saloon (formerly TSO 12001)
    2915 Mk3- Royal Household Sleeping Car (Formerley 10735)
    2016 Mk3-Royal Family dining car with kitchen (40512)
    2917 Mk3- Royal Kitchen/Household Dining Car (formerly HST TRUK 40514)
    2918 Mk3- Royal Household Cars (formely HST TRUK 40515) In Storage
    2919 Mk3- Royal Household Cars (formely HST TRUK 40518) In Storage
    2920 Mk2- Royal Household couchette, diesel generator & brake van(formerly BFK 14109/17109)
    2921 Mk2- Royal Household couchette, kitchen & brake van (formerly BFK 14107/17107)
    2922 Mk3- HRH The Prince oF Wales’ Sleeping Car (Specialy built for the Royal Train)
    2923 Mk3- HRH The Prince oF Wales’ Royal Saloon. (Specialy built for the Royal Train)

    They will have 2920 locos at either end.

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