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The royals and trains…Queen Elizabeth II and family

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The Diamond Jubilee is still going on, and to celebrate we’re continuing our series about royals and trains by jumping forward in time to see how Queen Elizabeth II and her family have given railway travel their seal of approval.

Read on to find out more about Her Maj’s train journeys. And check our journey planner for cheap train tickets before you next take to the rails.

Last month, we told you all about King Edward VII’s railway links. This time, as it’s been a month of Jubilee celebrations, we’re bringing you bang up to date by finding out how the Queen and the other royals use the railway to get around.

Taking the train…with the rest of us

The royals are often snapped boarding trains, so it’s clear they think it’s a great way to travel. Back in March, we told you how Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and the Duchess of Cambridge had kicked off the Diamond Jubilee Tour by heading to London St. Pancras Station and hopping on a specially scheduled commuter train to Leicester.

And that’s far from the first time that Her Maj has joined her subjects on the platform – check out the videos below to see some footage of her heading to the station and jumping on commuter trains:

The Royal Train

Although the royals regularly travel by specially scheduled rail services, the tradition of having a royal train – established by Queen Victoria – is still in place today. There is one royal train, but different carriages are used, depending upon who is travelling.

Here are five other fascinating facts about the royal train:

1. Since 2007, the royal train has been powered by environmentally-friendly bio-fuel made from used cooking oil.

2. The train can reach speeds of 125 m.p.h., but when the royals are on board, the maximum speed is restricted to 100 m.p.h.

3. The royal train doesn’t travel through the night – instead, it stops in one of a number of secret sidings in various locations across the UK.

4. All the daily newspapers are delivered to the train each morning, but when Her Maj is on board, the most important is ‘The Racing Post’, which she reads over breakfast.

5. The Queen’s apartments on the royal train feature Scottish landscape paintings by Roy Penny. Prince Charles also has a number of paintings in his carriage, including a picture of the former Royal Yacht Britannia, which hangs over his bed.

Prince Charles – and a royal rail scandal?

In November 1980, amidst a whirlwind of press speculation about whether or not Prince Charles was about to become engaged to the 19-year old Lady Diana Spencer, the Sunday Mirror reported that Prince Charles had spent a night in the royal train with a woman, assumed to be Diana.

The allegation was denied by both parties and by Buckingham Palace, but in later years, royal watchers, journalists and members of the public began to speculate as to whether the blonde woman allegedly seen boarding the train could have been Camilla Parker-Bowles. Opinion is still divided as to whether there was a woman on board that night or not – and if so, who it could have been.

A special train for a right royal occasion

The royal train carriages are maroon, with red and black coach linings and grey roofs and are pulled by one of two locomotives, but this year, a specially commissioned locomotive, designed to pull the carriages on Her Maj’s Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK was unveiled at Manchester Victoria Station.

The idea of changing the royal train’s livery for special celebrations isn’t new – when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the traditional black liveries of trains used for the England stretch of the tour were changed to red (for the London Euston to Crewe leg) and white (for the Crewe to Carlisle leg), whilst the final part of the journey – to Balmoral – was undertaken in a blue Caledonian Railway locomotive.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee locomotive, a DB Schenker Class 67 No. 67026, was painted silver, with an image of the Union Jack flag and a Diamond Jubilee logo on it.

Have you spotted Her Maj on the train? Do you know of any other interesting royal rail connections? Please tweet or Facebook us and let us know.

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