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The royals and trains … King Edward VII

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Queen Victoria may have been the first UK Monarch to travel by train – but her son, King Edward VII continued to give rail travel the royal seal of approval.

Read on to find out more about King Edward VII and his rail connections. And check our journey planner for cheap train tickets before you next head off somewhere by train.

Prince and patron

King Edward VII already had a reputation for being fond of the railways prior to his accession to the throne in 1901. In fact, in a piece mourning the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, on 26 January 1901, The Railway News stated:

His Majesty King Edward VII has always shown as much kindly interest in railway affairs as his mother; and he will receive the same heartfelt devotion from railway men as was so freely given to Her Majesty. He presided at one of the annual dinners of the Railway Benevolent Institution, of which he, as Prince of Wales, was a patron.

He also made railway history on 4 November 1890, whilst he was Prince of Wales, when he ceremonially opened the City and Southern Railway – the first deep-level ‘tube’ railway and the first underground electric railway, not just in London, but in the world. This stretch of track, which ran between Stockwell, Lambeth and King William Street in the City of London, was expanded and eventually became part of what’s now known as the London Underground.

Royal rail journeys and a station’s story

Like his mother, King Edward VII regularly took to the rails on the royal train to visit his subjects and travel between the royal residences, together with his wife, Queen Alexandra. You can still see Queen Alexandra’s saloon at the National Railway Museum Shildon.

But it wasn’t just the royal train that was designed to impress the royal couple. Wolferton Station, in Norfolk, was just a typical quiet rural station until 1863, when the then Prince of Wales and his new bride moved to Sandringham House.

They travelled to Norfolk by train, just 18 days after their wedding day – and Wolferton suddenly became one of the most important stations in the country. In 1876, due to the number of eminent train passengers alighting at, and leaving from Wolferton, the station was given a make-over, and a suite of royal waiting rooms was added.

In 1898, the station was rebuilt and even more royal waiting rooms were added. Queen Alexandra had her own sitting room and there was also a private garden in which the royals could take a stroll away from prying eyes.

The station was converted into a private home in 2001, but has recently changed hands and you can now walk along the platform and into the goods yard.

Edward VII’s last rail journey

King Edward VII died at Sandringham on 6 May 1910, following a bout of bronchitis and several heart attacks and part of his journey to his final resting place was made by train.

His coffin was first taken by train to London, to Westminster Hall, where he laid in state until 20 May 1910. It was then taken through the streets of London from Westminster Hall, to London Paddington Station, and. transported to Windsor by train – although the train was forced to travel along the ‘slow line’ rather than the usual line, due to another engine breaking down at Slough. The funeral took place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Do you know of any interesting royal rail connections? Let us know below…

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