Surely the Queen deserves a little bit of rail luxury?

Royal Train from Spithead Fleet Review June 16, 1953
Royal Train from Spithead Fleet Review June 16, 1953

THIS WEEK IN 1976: Big crowds for the big band sound

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As you may know, the Queen came down to Portsmouth a fortnight ago to visit the ship’s company of HMS Lancaster.

How do you think she travelled down from London? By service train, for crying out loud.

An early design in passenger hover travel from Southsea to Ryde. PPP-140529-103131001

An early design in passenger hover travel from Southsea to Ryde. PPP-140529-103131001

We’re not talking about some MP here, we are talking about Her Majesty the Queen visiting the home of the Royal Navy.

I really think it’s abysmal.

Perhaps, in these straitened times, the full loco-hauled Royal Train would have been a bit much.

But they could have laid on something more private don’t you think?

In this picture we see how the royal family used to travel on the railway, by Pullman.

This is a photo of the five-car Belle Pullman unit used as the royal train to take the Queen back to Windsor on June 16, 1953, following the Spithead Fleet Review.

The stock consisted of a Pullman No 90, two Kitchen Cars – Vera and Audrey – Parlour Car No 87 and Brake No 91.

It left Portsmouth Harbour at 9.35am and arrived at Windsor & Eton Riverside at 11.30am.

In my opnion this is how the Queen should travel, not with all the hoi polloi of everyday travel.

You will notice the two headlamps on the front.

Until recent times, when modern electric stock was built, it was only the royal train that carried two headlamps and two tail lamps.

Meanwhile, with June beginning next week no doubt many of you will be away on your holidays soon. Not everyone travels abroad though and many still enjoy the short trip across the Solent for a break on the Isle of Wight.

No doubt many will travel by hovercraft from Southsea and the modern craft flies across the Solent on a cushion of air in no time at all.

In 1963 the Hovertransport company began an experimental passenger service between Southsea and Ryde.

It was of course an astounding success with the hovercraft still running to this day.

In the photograph, from Roger George Clark’s book, Perfect England – the Isle of Wight, we see SRN2 taking off on its flight from Ryde in 1963 amid clouds of spray and sand.

I remember when they first landed on the Southsea side and there was no concrete slipway, spray, shingle and sand would be blown across the esplanade catching anyone unfortunate enough to be passing.