The Royal Scotsman Train – Experience The Splendour Of Scotland In Absolute Luxury!
The Royal Scotsman train is an effortless way to experience the splendour of Scotland in absolute luxury, with just a few fellow travellers, in an environment where you can give yourself over entirely to the care of the crew and let everything unfold in its own good time.
To step aboard The Royal Scotsman is to step into a different world. The Royal Scotsman evokes the nostalgia of a bygone era; the romantic age of travel when the journey was as important as the destination.
With a maximum of only 36 guests aboard at any one time, it is easy to see why the Scotsman is considered among the top ten of the most luxurious trains in the world.
Seen from the comfort of the Observation Car the spectacle of Scotland’s great wilderness does take the breath away – from sweeping glens to towering peaks and black lochs.
The Royal Scotsman train was originally launched in May 1985, although the train in its current form dates from May 1990. The original carriages were leased for a period of five years and the train was a great success, winning the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1988.
Before the lease expired, a decision was made to purchase outright a different set of carriages designed to the owner’s specifications. Ten Pullman carriages were purchased and fitted with all the interior woodwork designed by James Park and made to specification by a woodworking company in Bournemouth. The new carriages incorporated many improvements, including private facilities in each cabin and electric heating. Seating for all passengers at the same time was provided in the Observation Car and in the Dining Cars and capacity increased to thirty-two. In 1997 capacity was further increased to thirty-six passengers accommodated in sixteen twin and four single state cabins.
The running order of the cars, starting at the rear is: Observation Car with verandah viewing platform, which was originally built in 1960 as a First Class kitchen car named Snipe and in 1989 converted into its current configuration and able to comfortably seat thirty-six guests at any one time. Here guests can relax in comfortable chairs and sofas and watch the constantly changing Scottish panorama through its many windows, or enjoy the exhilaration of the open verandah. After dinner the country house atmosphere is further enhanced by entertainment with a traditionally Scottish mood.
Dining provisions on the Royal Scotsman train are very comfortable. Meals are multi cuisine, candlelit affairs, made with the newest, premium local produce, seafoods and meats, and offered either in the usual dining car, “Victory,” with tiny tables for four or two; or in the subsequent dining car, “Raven,” which adjusts 20 travelers at three large tables. Appearance is stunning; service is welcoming and proficient with fine wines included.
Dining Car Number One, originally a second class Pullman carriage built in 1962 and still referred to by its original name, Raven, it has undergone extensive renovation by a firm of cabinet makers from Evesham and now has a seating capacity for twenty diners.
Adjacent to this is Dining Car Two, which is the oldest of the carriages and still retains its original name “Victory” from 1945 when it was built as a Director’s Saloon for London & North East Railway. Victory can seat up to sixteen guests and is decorated with marquetry panels showing intricate designs of thistles, butterflies and flowing ribbons inlaid in different woods. It has specially made dining chairs and tables, bright orange curtains and brushed aluminium fittings to wood paneling, not to mention a state of the art kitchen.
Both dining cars on the Royal Scotsman train offer elegant surroundings, decorated in luxurious fabrics and rich mahogany paneling. Victory seats guests on tables of two and four, whereas Raven has larger tables for six or eight diners. This allows guests to meet and dine with fellow travellers or to enjoy the company of their partner.
The Royal Scotsman train’s restaurant has been acclaimed as one of the finest luxury dining experiences in Britain, its chefs having trained with world renowned culinary geniuses, such as Raymond Blanc, Charlie Trotter and Michel Roux. They make special use of Scotland’s natural larder of salmon and shellfish, game and Aberdeen Angus beef in a menu, which follows and reflects the seasonal changes. At the Kyle of Lochalsh, for example, guests can watch oysters being harvested from the waters close to the train platform, then, sample the very same oysters at their table as the train continues its journey. Each meal has a fixed menu, although guests can request an alternative if the posted menu does not suit their taste and most special diets can be catered for.
Meals are accompanied by a selection of fine wines and champagnes from the Royal Scotsman train’s extensive cellar, which also offers a range of liqueurs and of course there is a selection of fine Scottish malt whiskies to savor. The fare paid for the journey is an all-inclusive fare, so all meals and beverages are included.
Following on from the the Royal Scotsman train’s dining cars are five State Sleeping Cars which were originally Pullman Cars, built in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company. Between them, the sleeping cars provide sixteen twin State Cabins and four single State Cabins, each beautifully decorated in rich marquetry. The cabins all have their own private bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet, constant hot water and fresh fluffy white towels every day. Each has fixed lower beds, full height wardrobes and dressing table, together with individually controlled heating, cooling ceiling fans and opening window and of course a cabin service call button.
The five sleeping carriages on the Royal Scotsman train offer sixteen twin and four single cabins, wonderfully planned with affluent inlaid wood. The twin compartments are big with two lower twin beds to be found in an “L” shape. A few beds are nearly six feet, seven inches long, strangely big for a train. Four compartments are purposely intended for single tourists so there is no single supplement – a scarcity on luxury trains. The washrooms are huge and are provided with private sink, toilet and shower.
All Royal Scotsman train’s cabins are provided with dressing table, complete wardrobe, independently controlled heating, fans, opening windows and a service call button to ensure that yo get the best of service in th luxury train. The majority of people sleep like kittens on this train, because it halts at silent sidings at night.
At the end of the train is perchance the most unique carriage, the watching car. Initially made in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company, the observation carriage came into use in 1961 as a unparalleled kitchen car. In 1989, the car was purchased from its owner, Michael Bailiss, and transformed it to its up to date luxury design, able to contentedly carry all 36 guests at one time. At the rear part of the train is a much loved spot: the open-air observation platform, for observing the beautiful scenes of the exquisite Scottish scenery.
The Royal Scotsman Train’s Journey
A typical journey on the Royal Scotsman train begins in true Scottish splendor, being piped aboard at Edinburgh’s Waverly Station. The train then heads west on one of three itineraries, either the two-night Highland tour to the Boat of Garten and Perth, the three-night Western tour taking in Spean Bridge, Bridge of Orchy and Wemyss Bay or the four-night Classic tour to Keith, Kyle of Lochalsh, Boat of Garten and Perth. There is also the five-night Grand West Highland tour, which is the Highland and Western tours back-to-back and the seven-night Grand North Western tour which is the Classic and Western tours back-to-back. These are some of the best organized tours in the world, will definitely give an experience of the lifetime!
Whilst on these journeys, guests will visit stately homes, museums, distilleries and wildlife parks. They can enjoy a Sottish Highland Safari, clay pigeon shooting, a relaxing cruise or just a romantic walk along a beach or through un-spoilt woodland. Traditional Scottish entertainment is provided along the way and then there is always the spectacle of Scotland’s great wilderness scenery to gaze at as it slips silently past and you are transported on your way in the most glorious style. Seen from the comfort of the Observation Car, the contrasts of the changing landscape are stunning, through sweeping glens, past towering peaks and black mirrored lochs, no two days are the same.
A journey on the Royal Scotsman train certainly is a journey to remember, but the most luxurious train journey in the world? – That’s up to you to decide!
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