Following the sad decommissioning of the Yacht Britannia, the Queen was determined not to let the royal train meet the same fate…
As the Queen of England, it’s clear that Her Majesty has quite a few methods of transport to help her get around on a daily basis. But few are dearer to her than the official Royal Train. She’s made no bones about the fact that the train in general is her preferred method of transport, and she’s regularly spotted making trips across the country on board the railways – most famously her annual train trips to Sandringham for Christmas and to Balmoral in Scotland for the summer.
And now, it’s been revealed that Her Majesty’s beloved Royal Train has been saved from being scrapped.
In 2013, MPs questioned how cost-effective it really is – even going so far as to say that it would have to be gotten rid of. They argued that the amount of money needed to ensure it’s safety was too high to justify it’s use. But, the Queen has always maintained that it is cost-effective and convenient.
And now, tests to evaluate the quality of the train and carriages have
confirmed that the train is actually in much better condition than MPs first thought – meaning it’s allowed to keep carrying the royal family to where they
need to be.
The train has a myriad of bedrooms and dining rooms, which mean that the family can practically live on board when travelling, eliminating the need to stay in hotels. The train also has office facilities, so that the family won’t be kept from working while they travel.
The train was first officially gifted to the Queen’s great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, in 1897. Then, after her funeral in 1901, her coffin was transported from London back to Windsor, where she is now buried, on the Royal Train.
In 2011, the Royal Train was used for 14 trips, with nineteen nights spent on the train during the course of the 14 trips. But unfortunately, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry aren’t allowed onboard the royal carrier. To control costs, Parliament only allows the Royal Train to be used by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Penny Junor, biographer to some members of the royal family, has said, “The train is very dear to them. It’s fine for them to travel on public transport, but on the Royal Train they can sleep and, as the Royal Yacht was, its somewhere completely private, with everything they need on board.
“Everybody knows what it means to them. Yes, there’s a cost attached to it, but there’s a cost attached to having a Monarchy.”
But despite being a train provided exclusively for the most famous family in Britain, the method of transport is actually decorated pretty modestly – with simple wooden decor and budget desks and tables.
One method of transport that wasn’t able to be saved was the Royal Yacht – the Yacht Britannia. The decomissioning of the boat in 1994 left the Queen visibly upset, pictured at the ceremony wiping away her tears, as she bid it farewell with Prince Philip and Prince Charles by her side.
However, the Queen hasn’t been left without a royal boat, as a new – albeit smaller – yacht was brought in for the royal family in 2012, and was debuted at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant.