Telephone:  +27 31 572 4042

    

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.

 

The Train

 

The 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.

 

Accommodation

 

By day, the elegant furnished suites offer a place to relax and, as night falls, they become sumptuous and subtly-lit bedrooms with a choice of either two single beds or a double bed, dressed in fine cotton linen and duvets.

Considerable attention is paid to guests' needs. There is a writing desk next to the window, individually controlled air-conditioning, telephone and a video monitor.

A laundry service and the discreet availability of the professional butler ensure that travellers want for nothing. A snack menu can be served in the privacy of the suite by simply asking the butler. Each coach has a professionally trained butler who ensures that your client’s journey is as memorable and comfortable as possible.

Butlers are available for the duration of the journey to anticipate and accommodate every need.
 
The De Luxe suite has a choice of either twin or double bed with shower or bath en-suite, while the Luxury suite has a choice of twin or double bed with bath and en-suite. Luxury suites are also equipped with CD players and Blu-Ray DVD machines. Adequate quantities of basic amenities are provided in the bathroom.
 
All Blue Train suites have private bathrooms with marble floors, gold fittings and a choice of bath or shower, plush white towels, soft cotton kimonos and an array of luxury bath oils and soaps. The bed folds out of the wooden panel concealing the seats under it (the mattress is behind the wooden panel and folds on top of the seat – which then becomes a base). Should guests require the bed to be made up during the journey, they just need to ring for the butler.

 

Luxury Suites:

 

The train has three luxury coaches, with three suites per coach. They measure 5,13m long by 2m wide. The Luxury suite is a metre longer than a De Luxe suite and has a deep, long bath for luxurious soaking, instead of a shower. There is a private digital entertainment centre and a selection of music CDs and big-screen movies on Blue-Ray DVD.


 
De Luxe Suites: 

 

There are nine De Luxe coaches on the train with four suites per coach – one suite with a bath and the other three with showers. The suites measure 4m by 2m and feature twin beds with shower or a double bed, a three-quarter-size bathtub and hand-held shower.

 

Dining and Lounges

 

 

Fine Dining:

 

The dining car provides seating for 42 guests. There are two sittings for lunch and dinner. 

Lunch is smart-casual, dinner is jacket and tie for men and elegant wear for the ladies, while breakfast is casual.

Tables are set with Sheffield cutlery and crystal glassware on crisp white linen and meals are served to a selection of tasteful background music, ranging from smooth jazz to light classical to the mellow tones of the Soweto String Quartet.

The menus feature a selection of local cuisine using the freshest produce and ingredients, from Karoo lamb and ostrich fillet to Knysna oysters accompanied by award-winning cultivars from the Cape winelands.

The Blue Train is fully equipped to accommodate vegetarian, halaal, kosher or other special dietary requirements, which should be specified when guests make their reservation. Meals can also be served in the comfort of the suites and a Continental or full English breakfast is served at guests’ leisure.

 

Elegant Lounges:

 

The Blue Train has two lounges: the main lounge car where high tea is served each afternoon, and the Club Car where guests can relax over a postprandial cognac and Cuban cigar.

The Club Car is the only public area available for smoking. When not booked for a conference, the Conference car is converted into an Observation car or third lounge.

 

Facilities

 

Staff on board are all trained first-aid workers and contingency medical plans have been put in place should an emergency arise. There are also doctors on standby en route.

Fax facilities are available in the Train Manager's office. There are also facilities for mailing letters, purchasing stamps and The Blue Train postcards. A camera mounted on the front of the train gives guests a driver's-eye-view of the scenery ahead.

The unfolding journey is shown on a TV screen in the Club Car and on one of the TV channels so that guests can view it in their suites. Each suite is also equipped with WiFi and a cellular communication telephone that can be used for external phone calls and to reach train staff.

A central intercom system is used for making relevant announcements. On each journey, a team of highly qualified and specially trained hospitality staff include: Train Manager, Rooms Division Supervisor, Restaurant Supervisor, Executive Chef, Sous Chef, butlers, waiters/barmen and kitchen staff.

 

Charter and Conference

 

The Blue Train now offers corporates the opportunity to tailor-make their own route.

The train can be chartered for strategic meetings, product launches, VIP cocktail parties, Christmas lunches, dinners and even weddings, with a variety of different routes as an option.

The Conference Car at the back of the train accommodates up to 22 delegates and is fully equipped with audio-visual and technical equipment for a high-level business meeting or a small conference.

Without the standard tables, the conference car can accommodate up to 40 guests when set up classroom-style.

Our corporate clients can tailor-make a charter with a difference.

For example, a golfing or safari charter, with the train stopping at or near golf courses or game lodges that are situated along a rail route, or to other attractions and events such as the Vodacom Durban July, the J&B Met, Nedbank Golf Challenge, MTN SAMAs, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, to name but a few.

As long as the option they choose involves rail networks that are compatible with The Blue Train’s technology, it can be arranged! Full catering and bar facilities are available on board.

 

Examples of Charter Options

 

Overnight Charter (two nights):
 Day 1:

    • 14:00 Guests arrive at The Blue Train’s pre-departure lounge in Pretoria to enjoy pre-departure snacks and drinks.
    • 15:00 The train departs Pretoria Station for destination.
    • 16:00 High tea is served in the Lounge Car.
    • 18:00 Guests refresh themselves before dinner.
    • 19:00-21:00 Dinner is served in Dining Car.
    • Guests enjoy post-dinner drinks, cognacs and Cuban cigars before retiring to bed. 

Day 2:

    • 06:30-09:30 Breakfast is served at leisure.
    • 10:00 The Blue Train arrives at destination. Guests spend the day at leisure.
    • 17:30 Guests board The Blue Train and enjoy pre-departure snacks and drinks.
    • 18:30 The train departs for Pretoria.
    • 19:00-21:00 Dinner is served in the Dining Car.
    • Guests enjoy post-dinner drinks, cognacs and Cuban cigars before retiring to bed.

Day 3:

    • 06:30-09:30 Breakfast is served at leisure.
    • 10:00 The Blue Train arrives back in Pretoria.

Short-distance Charters (dinner and lunch functions):

 

Dinner itinerary:

    • 16:00 Guests arrive at The Blue Train’s pre-departure lounge in Pretoria for pre-departure snacks and drinks.
    • 17:00 Welcome and speeches
    • 17:45 Butlers usher guests on board the train
    • 18:00 The train departs Pretoria for a six-hour trip. Guests gather in the lounges (Club Car and non-smoking lounge) and enjoy aperitifs.
    • 19:00-23:00 Dinner is served in the Dining Car (in two sittings – should there be more than 42 guests).
    • Guests enjoy post-dinner drinks, cognacs and Cuban cigars.
    • 23:30 Train arrives back at Pretoria.
       

Lunch itinerary:

  • 10:00 Guests arrive at The Blue Train’s pre-departure lounge in Pretoria for pre-departure snacks and drinks.
  • 11:00 Speeches (if necessary)
  • 11:45 Butlers usher guests on board The Blue Train
  • 12:00 The train departs Pretoria for a five- to six-hour trip. Guests gather in the lounges (Club Car and non-smoking lounge) and enjoy aperitifs.
  • 12:30-16:30 Lunch is served in the Dining Car (in two sittings – should there be more than 42 guests).
  • 17:00 The train arrives back in Pretoria.

 

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.

 

Boutique Shop

 

As the wheels of The Blue Train transports guests to an era of untempered luxury and through breath-taking landscapes, they may wish for a more tangible reminder of this opportune time. For this reason, The Blue Train is home to an exclusive boutique.

Guests can choose from a range of quality items from golf shirts to playing cards, from key rings to cufflinks to lavish, leather gifts, these one-of-a-kind souvenirs will brand themselves into memory, and bring guests' Blue Train experience to life all over again. The boutique limits its clientele to two per viewing, ensuring the best individual attention.

Should guests purchase a valuable keepsake and would prefer greater security than the safe in their suite, the boutique will store the item securely until they are ready to take possession of it.

 

History

 

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.

 

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

Reservations: info@compasslineafrica.co.za
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