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About the train

Speeding through the South African countryside, The Blue Train is an icon of the rails. Resplendent in its gleaming livery of blue and gilded motifs, it cuts a dramatic shape as it slices through the scenery of the Cape and the Karoo, travelling between the magnificent city of Cape Town to the jacaranda city of Pretoria. The 27-hour service has, in the past, been frequented by kings and presidents, plus household name stars like Kylie Minogue and Sir Elton John, and remains one of the most luxurious experiences on the rails with attentive butler service for each and every guest. Every moment is crafted to ‘wow’, from high tea served in the Lounge Car to running a bath in your private en suite as the train rumbles through the night.

Throughout the journey, off-train excursions illuminate the sights along the way, from visits to the historic mining town of Kimberley to bespoke arrangements if travelling on a specially-chartered service.

While on board, relax in the upscale surroundings of polished wood, leather seating, crisp table linen and gently clinking crystal. There’s no better way to explore the wild scenery of South Africa than on board this impressive train.

On-board experience

Travelling on board The Blue Train means embarking on one of the world’s most luxurious train journeys. From the moment you step into one of the pre-departure lounges in the ‘mother city’ of Cape Town or Pretoria, the ‘jacaranda city’, you’ll feel the anticipation from all the staff you encounter. Step aboard to a warm South African welcome, where you’ll be waited on by stewards with a genuine passion for good service, including butlers who can cater to your every need.

On your journey, you may find you spend a lot of time just gazing out of the window, a worthy pastime considering the magnificent views that you’ll pass. However, there are plenty of other on-board diversions. Spend the evenings dressed in your finest clothes as you enjoy multi-course, gourmet meals, take in the warm air from the observation car with a Montecristo Havana cigar, read a novel over a glass of cognac, or perhaps take a bath before bed. The Golden Age of travel is most definitely alive and well aboard The Blue Train.

Blue Train - Carriages

Depending on the voyage that you choose, the train could be made up of as many as 19 carriages; for shorter journeys, this is decreased to just 14 cars. At its longest, the train stretches up to 399 metres. The highlight of all journeys – whether long or short, is the observation car, offering breath-taking panoramas of the surrounding scenery. Also with stunning views is the conference car, which is also designed as an observation car – perfect for meetings, get-togethers or special occasions; this can also be adapted for smaller gatherings. Linking the private accommodation suites are two wood-panelled carriages housing the train’s lounge and club cars, ideal for relaxing with an aperitif, or withdrawing after dinner for a nightcap. In the Club Car, you can take your pick from the onboard selection of Cuban cigars, watch a driver’s eye view of the track on the TV screen, or take part in a game of cards, backgammon or chess, perhaps selecting a volume from the library to read before bed. During the afternoon, a high tea is served in the lounge car.

Blue Train - Cabins

Each of the suites on board The Blue Train offers a restful space to relax and enjoy the fabulous views of the South African countryside. Each suite is arranged as a spacious sitting area by day, at night transforming into a restful sanctuary where you will drift off with goose-down duvets and pillows and get ready for the day in a private en suite bathroom with marble tiles and basins and gold fittings. Underfloor heating warms the toes on cooler mornings, and you’ll have an option of a shower or a full-size bath; The Blue Train is one of the few trains in the world to offer a full-size bathroom. There are two types of cabin to choose from: De Luxe suites have twin beds with an en suite shower room, or a double bed with bath tub and hand-held shower, and Luxury suites with either twin or double beds, en suite bathrooms and an extended entertainment selection featuring music CDs and movies on DVD. All suites have a writing desk by the window, air conditioning, radio and movie channels plus a GPS map on a monitor so you can track your journey’s progress.

There is limited storage space available in your cabin, so it’s recommended that you transfer your necessary items and clothing into a soft-sided carry-on bag for your journey. The rest of your luggage will be stored in a separate luggage van and returned to you on disembarkation.

Blue Train - Service

Since 1946, travelling on board The Blue Train has been thought of as a luxurious experience, with the highest levels of hospitality. This has not changed despite the advances of time and technology: all guests travel with the services of a dedicated butler, receive attentive service as standard, stay in the finest accommodation prepared to meticulous levels of cleanliness and receive beautifully prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At meal times, you can expect the upscale Silver Service that luxury travel affords. This is true whether you take a scheduled or charter service.

And if you’re honeymooning, don’t forget to let us and the train staff know. Each newlywed couple is presented with a special gift of complimentary champagne and a blue leather photo frame, so you can display a snapshot of your thrilling adventure once you arrive home.

Blue Train - Food

Dining on board The Blue Train feels more like settling down for a gourmet meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant, than eating on a moving train. It is amazing to think that each perfectly-plated dish has been prepared onboard in a tiny kitchen, by a fleet of experienced chefs. In the restaurant car, tables are laid with crisp white linen tablecloths topped with weighty Sheffield cutlery and crystal glassware. The car seats just 40 guests for an intimate meal, so you’ll have a choice of two sittings. Alternatively, you can dine in the privacy of your suite – though you will miss out on the genteel atmosphere, smooth jazz and light classical music, recorded by the Soweto String Quartet.

Breakfasts – either continental, or full English – will be served to you at your leisure. Lunches and dinners are more formal, featuring local dishes like Karoo lamb and Knysna oysters, accompanied by a range of award-winning Cape wines. What’s more, if you observe a different diet, perhaps Kosher or vegetarian, the chefs can accommodate as long as you notify at the time of your reservation.

Blue Train - Dress code

The dress code on board is smart casual, with breakfast being a leisurely affair, and the atmosphere becoming more formal as the day progresses. In the evening, it’s recommended that men wear a jacket and tie, while ladies dress in elegant separates or smart dresses for dinner.

General Information

Smoking

Smoking on-board is only permitted in the Club Car.

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