.. Harry here is a report on the Queen’s recent train trip .. it is obvious that there was plenty of security around but I do agree that it is nothing compared to other countries like the US .. I wonder if now that it has been made common knowledge if it will in fact continue to be a preferred method of travel ..
There was a buzz at King’s Cross this morning as platform 11b began crawling with police. Could it be a drug bust, the crowd wondered? Or was a rock star about to board a train? Then a small lady in a headscarf appeared, a handbag on one arm and a posy on the other.
Fellow passengers on the 10.45 First Capital Connect service to King’s Lynn couldn’t quite believe their eyes as the Queen stepped on board a first class carriage.
My wife will never believe me.’ Relatively speaking there was minimal fuss, although some travellers reacted angrily when police shut off the area without warning five minutes before the train was due to leave. The monarch, with a few attendants, sat at the rear of the train in an eight-seat section of a carriage which was separated from the rest of the seats by a sliding glass door.
As the train pulled out she took her place by the window next to one of her protection officers and looked out at the scenery.
Other first class passengers who tried to join her compartment were told by the four plain-clothes royal protection guards to sit in another first class section in the train.
Only a toddler penetrated the tight security as he ran up the alleyway followed by his father and pressed his nose against the glass. He was too small to reach the button to open the door. But he did win a cheery smile from the Queen. Asked by a passenger, one security guard confirmed that the Queen – and all her attendants – had bought tickets for the journey.
A first class open return bought on the day costs £86, but the guard joked: "It was probably a super saver advance – and she does get a discount as an OAP, remember." An advance first class ticket, without the seniors’ discount, costs £44.40.
The Queen does, of course, also have use of the Royal Train – but that costs taxpayers £57,142 each time it is taken out of its sidings.
Source and pics: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1367925.htm
.. and Erik given the size of Aus the use of a Royal Train has a long history when royals visited us Downunder .. the earliest reference I found was 1901 ..
The Governor-General's carriage is one of the most luxurious railway carriages in Australia. It represents the work of the most skilled artisans employed in the New South Wales Government railways in the early 1900s, especially in the work of local timbers. The carriage was built at the Eveleigh Railway Carriage Workshops, Sydney, in 1901 for the use of the newly appointed Governor-General of Australia, the Earl of Hopetoun, John Adrian Louis Hope Hopetoun (1860-1908). It is one of five special cars built by the New South Wales Department of Railways between 1891 and 1920 for the exclusive use of royalty, governors-general, governors, premiers and the railway commissioners.
The Governor-General's carriage reflects the importance of the role of the British monarch in the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia at the point of Federation and also in the social order and customs of the period. It was built and used in the halcyon days of rail travel in New South Wales before the popularity of commercial airways.
The carriage is internally divided into three sleeping suites, a dining room, galley and attendants' quarters and observation room which provided an unrestricted view of the surrounding countryside. It is furnished with a number of lounge chairs, a bookcase, writing cabinet and cellarette in polished oak. The master bedroom and two auxiliary bedrooms are fitted with brass bedsteads, mirrored dressing tables, built-in wardrobes, fans, heaters, and ensuite toilet and shower facilities. The dining room features a carved oak sideboard with matching dinner wagon, six dining chairs and table. The interior decoration includes 311 individually hand-carved timber panels of polished English oak and Australian cedar depicting botanical specimens of New South Wales and fluted pilasters. There are etched glass panels featuring Australian flora, fine carpets, gold-tinted velvets, silk drapes, the best Morocco leather and upholstery as well as hundreds of gold-plated items such as coat hooks and light switch covers. The ornate ceilings are cream-coloured stamped zinc panels by Wunderlich in Louis XVI style inset with the royal coat of arms.
The carriage was just completed in time for the Royal visit of the Duke (later King George V) and the Duchess of Cornwall and York during their visit to Australia in May to July 1901 for the opening of the first federal parliament in Melbourne. The Duke commented that "the train was the most comfortable one he had ever travelled in during his life". The carriage was renowned for its whisper-smooth ride. It was subsequently used by a number of royal visitors and in 1954 carried the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The carriage was last used by royalty in 1964.
.. in 1920 there was a bit of excitement and a display of royal humour during the tour of Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor, aka Prince Edward ..
The tour was long and strenuous, but the Royal visitors broke the monotony by hunting kangaroos on horseback and attending parties, at one of which Prince Edward was involved in a pillow fight. He was a qualified air force pilot, and often took the controls of steam engines pulling his Royal Trains while here. Immense distances were travelled across all of Australia. On the journey from Sydney to Perth the train was derailed and the Prince’s carriage overturned. He was discovered reclining in the wreckage of his luxurious compartment, smiling and smoking a cigar. He then emerged from the debris and cheerfully remarked, “At last we have done something that was not on the official program.”
.. and it seems that everybody got in on the act .. Grace Bros is a large department store ..
In 1948, King George VI announced that he was to tour the 'colonies' to thank them for their assistance during the second world war. This was to be the first visit of a reigning monarch to Australia and elaborate plans were soon being made for a suitably lavish reception. The government of New South Wales decided to provide a Royal Train for 'the convenience and pleasure' of our Royal Visitors and placed the order for its complete furnishing by Grace Bros. However in November 1948, Prime Minister Chifley announced that the tour had been postponed due to the King's poor health. The Australian public was undaunted and, as this booklet proclaimed, 'The Nation's plans for joyous welcoming were stemmed -- perhaps only for awhile -- but, above all, we hope and trust for the complete recovery of our King.'
Grace Bros provided designs for the furnishing of four coaches of the Royal Train that was to be built for the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1949. It is not clear if the train was built but at least one of the furnished rooms survives: the Stateroom intended for Queen Elizabeth.
Accommodation was to consist of Staterooms for the King and Queen with an additional sitting room for the Queen and a small study and interviewing room for the King, a 'Royal Lounge' and 'Royal Diner' with a table seating 18. As the booklet states, 'As this train was to be used only for short periods, Grace Bros. decided to make the interiors as intimate as possible and approximating to apartments used by their Majesties in their country or holiday residences.' The rooms were to be furnished in reproduction Adam furniture -- 'this being the most graceful type of period furniture suitable for the confined space available on a train'. Walls were to be papered.
Furnishings for the Queen's Stateroom were designed by W.H. Greenwood and made by the Sydney cabinetmakers, Edward Hill & Co. The furniture was made of Queensland maple with satinwood veneers and upholstered in royal blue velvet. This suite was displayed at Grace Brothers Broadway in April 1948. The visit of the royal family was cancelled in December 1948.
In fact the nation had to wait a further five years. Princess Elizabeth and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh began to tour the Commonwealth in 1952 but only reached Africa before being summoned home on the death of George VI. They finally arrived in Australia in 1954 to be greeted by enormous popular fervour.
.. but all is not well .. in January 2009 a retired policeman revealed the following ..
The Queen and Prince Philip were the targets of an assassination plot during a visit to Australia almost 40 years ago, a retired NSW detective claims.
Former Detective Superintendent Cliff McHardy said the unsophisticated plan consisted of placing a large wooden log across railway tracks near Lithgow, in the Blue Mountains, in a bid to derail the royal train.
Mr McHardy, 81, said a catastrophe was only narrowly averted, with the train striking the log but remaining on the tracks.
Details of the alleged conspiracy were supposedly kept under wraps to spare the Australian government any embarrassment, he said.
The Queen and her husband are said to be unaware to this day that anything untoward happened.
The Lithgow Plot, as it was known, occurred midway through the couple's state visit as they travelled from Sydney across the Blue Mountains on the Commissioner's Train.
On April 29, 1970, the train entered a winding cutting near Lithgow then struck a large log which had been wedged across the rails.
The log became stuck under the front wheels and the train slid for almost 200 metres before coming to a halt at a level crossing, still on the tracks and largely unscathed.
Police suspected it was an act of sabotage designed to kill or injure the Queen, who had just celebrated her 44th birthday, and her husband.
If the train had derailed it would have crashed into an embankment, said Mr McHardy, who was in charge of the Lithgow police force for 11 years.
He said a security 'sweeper' train checking the line an hour before the Queen's arrival had found nothing, which led him to deduce that the culprits must have had knowledge of the official train's schedule.
Marks at the scene suggested the log had been rolled onto the tracks and manoeuvred into position.
Australian IRA sympathisers were among those suspected of being behind the plot.
Police investigations included an inquiry into possible links with an earlier incident when detonators were placed in the path of the royal train as it approached Blackheath.
.. so it seems there hasn’t always been universal love for the Queen in Aus .. or did they just hate trains ?? ..
WoZ waiting on the platform