The Blue Train
The Blue Train is a luxury train service that operates between Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa. It is often described as one of the most luxurious journeys in the world, thanks to the quality of its accommodation and service provision.
The service itself dates back to the early 20th Century, when the Union Limited and Union Express trains carried passengers between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The service is operted by Luxrail, which is a division of South Africa's national rail network, Transnet Freight Rail. The company currently operates two trains, which run in opposite directions along the single route, at speeds of up to 90km/hr.
All parts of the train are air-conditioned, whilst each suite has an individual temperature control. Under-floor heating is also provided for colder termperatures.
Accommodation on-board the Blue Train is provided in the form of private suites, with either two or four suites in each carriage. Each has its own shower or bath, with one bathroom suite in each carriage (the other three are shower suites).
De Luxe Suites
The standard accommodation on-board the Blue Train are the De Luxe suites. These offer passengers either twin beds with a shower, or double beds with a bathtub. Each suite has an entertainment system and telephone for internal and external calls.
If the standard Blue Train suites are not luxurious enough for you, you can always choose to travel in a Luxury Suite instead. These offer a larger amount of space for passengers, with twin or double beds and a bathroom. Luxury accommodation also includes an enhanced entertainment/tv system (larger number of channels, movies and music).
Luggage & Facilities
There is no limit on the amount of luggage that can be carried. However, as space in each cabin is (to a degree) limited, passengers are recommended to not bring too much on-board with them. Additional luggage, not required during the journey, may be stored in the luggage van for the duration.
Food & Drink
The Blue Train has an on-board dining car, which provides seating for 42 passengers. Two sittings are held for both lunch and dinner. Passengers are expected to wear smart-casual clothing for lunch sittings, whilst dinner sittings are undertaken in a jacket and tie for men, and elegant-wear for women. Casual-wear may be worn for breakfast. Passengers may choose to take meals in their suite if preferred.
Each meal offers a selection of local cuisine, as well as wine to accompany. Meals are presented in true silver-service style, and dietary requirements can also be catered for (please specify during reservation).
Two lounge carriages can be found on-board each train. Each is wood-panelled, and provide comfortable and civilised seating and socialising space. The main-lounge is where high tea is served in the afternoons. The club-car is a more relaxed, smoking area.
Fax facilities are available on-board, within the train manager's office. Hand-written post may also be sent via the train staff. Each suite has a telephone for out-bound calls, as well as internal calls to train staff.
Each suite has its own television set, which shows (among other things) a drivers-eye view of the track ahead as the train is travelling.