For the first time in over 30 years, the Royal Train will be back on Victoria’s railway tracks heading to Bendigo Station this Saturday.
It is one of many tourist attractions being held in the region to complement the Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery, which opens to the public on the same day.
To mark the beginning of its scheduled return service between Castlemaine and Bendigo during the exhibition period, the first Royal Train journey will leave Melbourne at 9.28am and will stop at Sunbury, Kyneton, Castlemaine, and arrive at Bendigo at 12.38pm.
Specially invited passengers for the occasion will get the opportunity to travel back in time and enjoy the same regal luxury that was once only accessible to royal and vice regal passengers. The train consists of five restored luxury carriages from the last century, two of which were built and used exclusively for royal and vice-regal trains.
The restored royal carriages were used during Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s tour around Victoria in 1954, and when Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales visited Bendigo in 1983. They include a parlour, a dining car, viewing balconies and a first class seating car from the iconic 1937 Spirit of Progress.
The City of Greater Bendigo has teamed up with the Victorian Goldfields Railway, the Seymour Rail Heritage Centre, VicTrack and VLine to get the Royal Train back on track for the service.
Starting on April 6, there will be seven opportunities for people to book and ride the train like royalty from Castlemaine to Bendigo, which will be a 40 minute journey each way. Passengers will be able to view the dining carriage, the royal sleeping quarters and state rooms during the trip and have the opportunity to have high tea.
City Manager Tourism and Major Events Terry Karamaloudis said the City was excited to support these memorable opportunities for visitors.
“This is a fantastic collaboration which will provide visitors with an amazing opportunity to have an authentic royal rail experience on the way to the Tudors to Windsor’s exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery. Those wishing to explore and travel on the Royal Train can book on the Bendigo Tourism website,” Mr Karamaloudis said.
“These experiences will encourage visitors to stay longer in our city and region, which is a great outcome for local economies.”
Victorian Goldfields Railway President Steve Strangward said this was another big step the VGR was making to delivering first class tourism experiences to the region.
“The VGR has been working hard with Bendigo and Mount Alexander Shire Councils, Regional Development Victoria and local community organisations to expand our tourism offer and deliver real financial and social benefits to our region while preserving for present and future generations our fantastic Victorian Railways rail heritage,” Mr Strangward said.