King Charles marked another major milestone in his reign this week, marking his first journey on the exclusive royal train since becoming monarch.
The royal travelled to Manchester on the luxury locomotive, journeying overnight from Ayr in Scotland to attend a series of engagements in the northwest city. Journeys on the royal train, which was said to be Queen Elizabeth's "favourite way to travel", certainly don't come cheap. In 2020-21, the royal family spent £700,000 on rail travel alone.
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A finance expert previously told The Express that a single journey, when taking into account the length of journey, fuel and staff costs, can cost "at least £25,000".
The royal train has been used by the royal family since 1840, is the source of much fascination and has previously been featured in Channel 5 documentary, Secrets of the Royal Train.
The monarch marked his first journey since becoming King
We take a sneak peek inside the train and reveal its regal history…
Which royals can travel on the King's royal train?
Royals are only permitted to use the train on invitation from the monarch. When Queen Elizabeth was alive, use of the royal train was typically only reserved for senior royals. Before he became king, Prince Charles enjoyed many a journey with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Duchess of Sussex became the youngest royal to accompany the Queen on the royal train in June 2018, as she carried out a day of engagements with the Queen in Cheshire.
The late Queen Elizabeth liked to work on the royal train
What are the carriages like on the King's royal train?
As you would expect, the vehicle is not your average train; the nine-carriage Royal Train is equipped with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room that seats 12, and an office where the royals are said to work during their travels. There is also some room for staff from the royal household who accompany the King or his guests to their destination.
Its livery is a pristine, highly polished burgundy known as Royal Claret, emblazoned with royal crests, with black coach lining and a grey roof.
There is also a dining room for royal visitors
The insides are surprisingly functional rather than palatial; royal aides once described it as being fitted with bathroom fixtures 'you could find in Homebase or B&Q'.
Does the King have his own carriage on the royal train?
Yes. He has a private 75ft long air-conditioned and heated saloon carriage. It contains a bedroom with a single bed, a sitting room, a desk, dining quarters – and it's own private bathroom featuring a full-sized bathtub.
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What is the history of the King's royal train?
Queen Victoria's Saloon Carriage is now on display at the Railway Museum
The Royal Train was first used in 1840 by Queen Consort Adelaide (the title given to the wife of King William IV), who rode the caboose from Nottingham to Leeds. However, the first monarch to ride the train was Queen Victoria, who used it to travel from London to Windsor two years later.
It has since been used for many memorable journeys, including transporting Queen Victoria's body from London to Windsor, where she was buried, following her funeral service in 1901.
On a happier occasion, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, travelled on the royal train to start their honeymoon in Scotland before embarking on a cruise through the Greek Islands to Egypt on Royal Yacht Britannia.
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