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The Blue Train

The Blue Train is widely regarded as one of the world's most luxurious trains. For more than half a century South Africa's Blue Train has enjoyed an international reputation as one of the world's pre-eminent travelling experiences.

The Blue Train is unique. It is not merely a train but combines the luxury of the world's leading hotels with the charm of train travel.

Your clients can enjoy an all-inclusive luxury rail journey with an opportunity to view South Africa's spectacular landscapes and visit interesting tourist attractions along the way, all enjoyed in luxurious comfort.

By day, guests’ private suites are relaxing havens. Generous lounge chairs and a writing desk at the window afford unparalleled views of Africa's magnificent scenery. The journey between Pretoria and Cape Town is run on a regular schedule and the train can be chartered for any other route in South Africa.

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The Blue Train

The Blue Train ImageThe luxurious journey is made possible by the first train set which is a 455-metre-long model that accommodates a maximum of 82 guests in 41 suites and features a conference or observation car at the back of the train. Of the 19 carriages, 11 are used for accommodation. The second train set can accommodate up to 54 guests (this train set does not have a paraplegic suite and is not wheelchair friendly).

The train travels at 90km/h and weighs approximately 825 metric tons, excluding the locomotives. It carries 31 000 litres of water and two diesel-powered generators – one of which is always on standby – supply the train's power requirements. 

Each generator is capable of generating up to 550 KVA, with a 650 volt supply to the train. Each journey is accompanied by a mechanical and electrical technician. 

The kitchen car is a masterpiece of stainless-steel design. The fully air-conditioned car features walk-in cool rooms and freezers, ensuring that wines and hors d'oeuvres remain at optimal temperatures.


Temperature Control:


All the public cars are fitted with gas-filled air-conditioning systems. A standard internal temperature of between 20°C and 21°C is maintained throughout the journey. For the comfort of guests, each suite has individual temperature controls that range from 18°C to 24°C. These systems are water-cooled and each suite has its own fresh air intake.
During cold weather, all systems are provided with heating cycles from the air-conditioning units, as well as under-floor heating. Heating systems have been fitted under the floors of all suites and the marble tiles in all the bathrooms.


Safety and Comfort

To ensure that our guests’ experience is as reliable and sound as it is luxurious, safety and technical excellence are of paramount importance.

All the suites and every public area are fitted with constantly monitored smoke detection systems. Two highly qualified technicians are always on board and the trains are thoroughly serviced at the Pretoria depot after every return trip.

The train's suspension, braking, lighting and under-floor heating systems have been designed and customised with guests' comfort as the primary consideration, allowing them to experience a smooth, pleasurable ride.

Every modern convenience, including a telephone service and a choice of digital entertainment channels, makes the journey all the more memorable.


The Blue Train owes its origins to the Union Limited and the Union Express, which, from 1923, linked Johannesburg with the mail ships departing Cape Town for England. Ordinary coaches were used until 1927, when articulated saloons were imported. The two Union trains travelled the distance in 30 hours and introduced a new standard of luxury.

The service of the Union trains was suspended in 1942 during the Second World War and only resumed in February 1946.

It was then that a coat of paint in royal blue and cream would later give ‘those blue trains’ their distinctive livery – The Blue Train, a ‘Palace on Wheels’ was born.

In 1997 an all-new Blue Train was introduced and a year later, a second identical train came into service, allowing The Blue Train to increase its destinations – besides the Cape Town route, the Hoedspruit route, is now also available.

A look inside the revamped Shongololo Express luxury rail line

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Luxury train group Rovos Rail has completed its purchase and refurbishment of 16 Shongololo Express coaches, which now forms part of the rail line’s offering.

Rovos purchased Shongololo Express in January 2016 for an undisclosed sum, and work began on renovating and refurbishing the coaches to be in line with Rovos’ standards.

The brief was to gut all existing bathrooms for a complete revamp, while the layout of the Shongololo’s Gold and Emerald cabins were overhauled to allow for more space.

All the rooms have now been fitted with wood-panelling, linen, day covers, curtains, paintings, carpets, towels and the Shongololo Express now comes with full amenities kits too.

The refurbished coaches are used on three new routes guests can take on the Rovos Rail, ranging between R52,000 and R95,000 for a 12-15 day trip.

Golf has been introduced to the Good-Hope trip, renamed Good-Hope Golf, with courses such as the Arabella Golf Estate, Ernie Els Oubaai, Fancourt, Champagne Sports Resort, Durban Country Club, Zimbali, Royal Swazi and Leopard Creek being available to guests.

All journeys are available in reverse and guests can purchase optional extras that include visits to cultural, historical or heritage sites and overnight stays at safari lodges. The rates do not include most lunches, beverages and laundry, the rail said.

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Our Story

The Train Journeys team is standing by to assist in making your rail journey, a dream come true. Falling under the umbrella of Compassline Africa, our product exceeds just the train journey... we are able to offer you luxury packages from a meet and greet service at the airport, road transfers , charter flight transfers, accommodation from hotels to safari lodges , commercial flights, pre & post sightseeing activities, in all the Southern African destinations we cover to include South Africa , The Victoria Falls, Botswana and Namibia.

Contact Details

Telephone     : +27 31 572 6880
Address         : Anchor House, 38 Park Drive, Glenashley, Durban North, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 4051
Postal            :  P.O.Box 1273 Hyper-by-the-Sea, 4052