If the walls of The Blue Train could talk, they would, better than many, tell the history of one of the most beautiful countries in the world, whose beauty had been preserved in the face of adversity, said Vincent Monyake, Executive Manager of The Blue Train.
“The story of this beautiful country runs parallel to that of The Blue Train, and as such, as it is with South Africa, sustaining and preserving the charm therein is a balancing act. For any discerning traveller, walking through the compact corridors of this 73-year-old national treasure, peeking out into the splendour of our countryside, understanding the complex history through which this beauty has lived, is a deeply contemplative act.”
Monyake explains that saying The Blue Train is a time capsule “is putting it mildly”.
“And it’s not about the décor that harks to a certain era, but rather that The Blue Train has been a constant presence in the annals of our history.”
Late last year, The Blue Train was repositioned and reimagined for evolved, discerning travellers and business leaders.
“At the centre of this repositioning is a meditation on time, and what that means to people today. Whether it’s the individual leisure travellers escaping to afford themselves time to contemplate and recuperate, or it’s a business escaping the freneticism of everyday life. It’s all about connecting with oneself, with travel companions, with new friends, or with colleagues. With that meditation came the opportunity to elevate The Blue Train’s offering.”
In addition to the luxury soundproofed, individually air-conditioned suites, dedicated 24-hour butler service, silver service gourmet meals, unlimited range of fine wines and spirits, Cuban cigars, more changes were made.
The main route, Pretoria to Cape Town, was slowed down so that the journey would take longer, from one night with an intended off-train excursion in Kimberley to two nights with a guaranteed excursion in Kimberley.
Entertainment on board such as live music, poker table, blackjack and roulette were also added. “What had long been known as a five-star hotel on wheels evolved to becoming a five-star resort on wheels – the journey continued to be the destination, except better.”
At the 2019 Public Relations Institute of South Africa PRISM Awards, The Blue Train’s repositioning was given a bronze award in the Travel and Tourism practice. At the 2019 World Travel Awards, the train was, for the fourth consecutive time and the 11th time overall, given the award for Africa’s most luxurious train.
Brands, such as L’Oreal, Rolls Royce, and Boschendal have also partnered and hosted events on board the train.
Along with this development, a more diverse guest demographic has been emerging, with local tourists increasing from 10% to 40%. In 2018, The Blue Train also took on its first group of interns from tertiary institutions in South Africa.
“Trains continue to mean more to us than just moving from A to B. They are home, a way to home. And The Blue Train is indeed a destination, and a way to a destination. Much like South Africa – a beautiful country, always on its way to being better, for all South Africans.”
About The Blue Train
The Blue Train is a business unit of Transnet Freight Rail, a division of Transnet SOC Limited and has been in existence since 1946. It offers a unique way of experiencing some of Southern Africa’s magnificent landscapes and landmarks. On this train luxury assumes a new dimension.
Take a journey into a timeless world of grace, elegance and romance, where spectacular scenery will stir your imagination and luxurious comfort will soothe your mind, body and soul.
Please visit www.bluetrain.co.za for further information.