In a must-see event for railway buffs and enthusiasts of the histories of royal families, the Dutch Railway Museum is hosting a major international exhibition in 2010 on royal trains. The exhibition is to be called ‘Royal Class, regal journeys’.
For the first time ever, historical royal trains from all over Europe will be seen in a single exhibition. These magnificent trains will provide a unique impression of the luxurious style in which European royalty once travelled. ‘Royal Class, regal journeys’ will be open from April 15 through September 5 at the Dutch Railway Museum (known in Dutch as the Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum) in Utrecht.
Railway carriages from all the major European royal houses will be coming to Utrecht. There will be trains, carriages and interiors on show from Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Austria, Bulgaria and Sweden.
One of the absolute gems of the exhibition will be one of the oldest preserved royal carriages in the world ― the carriage used by Britain’s Queen Adelaide ― which dates from 1842.
For the exhibition, the Santarem railway museum in Portugal has lent a complete train used by Queen Maria Pia of Portugal, dating from 1858.
Another railway jewel is arriving from Vienna in the shape of a panel from a carriage used by another keen royal traveller, Empress Elizabeth of Austria (better known as Sisi).
Carriages used over the years by the Dutch royal household will also be on show. Thanks to sponsorship from the Netherlands BankGiro Lottery, the Dutch Railway Museum is building a replica of the saloon car originally built in 1864 for Queen Anna Paulowna.
After a brief lesson in royal etiquette in the museum’s Royal Waiting Room, visitors to ‘Royal Class, regal journeys’ will be led along the red carpet past the gleaming royal carriages. Visitors to the exhibition will also meet historic figures, who will have interesting stories to tell about the trips taken by royalty.
One of the recurring themes of the exhibition will be the stimulus given by royal families to the promotion and advancement of rail travel. Visitors will also be able to see how the ways sovereigns ruled their nations gradually changed, often because of the railways.
Royal travellers used trains for more personal reasons as well, such as visiting relatives and for holidays.
For more information on the exhibition, visit www.spoorwegmuseum.nl/en/actueel/royal_class.htm.