Want to see a glimpse of the grandeur of a bygone era of royal train travel?
The train that once transported the Queen and Prince Philip and Charles and Diana on their Australian tours is making a whistle-stop trip to Warrnambool at the weekend.
And the public is invited to come on board to see just how the royals travelled the countryside in style. The heritage train will be in town as part of a Captain's Choice tour of western Victoria. It will be open for inspection at the Warrnambool Railway Station on Sunday from midday for about 30 minutes.
The seven-carriage train includes the elegant State Car 4, better known as the 'Royal Car'. Used exclusively for visiting royal and government VIPs, the carriage was built in 1912 and, like the trailing 1906 'Yarra' parlour car, features an observation platform.
Among the most famous passengers to grace the 'Royal Car' were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their 1954 Australian tour and Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1983.
The original elegant 1937 'Spirit of Progress' dining car, along with the 'Mitta Mitta' carriage which accommodated the royals' support crews, are also part of the lineup.
John Crofts, president of the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre (SRHC) which is the custodian of the heritage train, said SRHC members would be on hand on Sunday to direct visitors onto the train with all carriages open for inspection.
Although the public viewing time will be limited to about half an hour before Captain's Choice tour members board, Mr Crofts was optimistic there would be more opportunities for inspections as well as train rides later in the year with a scheduled return for the Jericho Cup race meeting on November 27.
"We hope to be able to offer shuttle rides to the public between Warrnambool and Camperdown," said Mr Crofts, who sees heritage rail as an untapped resource for regional tourism.
The train will arrive in Warrnambool overnight on Saturday on charter to Captain's Choice for the final leg of a six-day Regional Victoria Silo Art and Royal Train tour.
With about 40 customers on board, the tour takes in Mildura, the Silo Art Trail, the Grampians and a two-night stay at Warrnambool's Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs.
The high-end tour company, which usually focuses on international travel, introduced the yearly tour last March to boost its domestic product offer during the pandemic.
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