The Blue Train of South Africa, the republic’s luxury passenger service, is undergoing a complete facelift. The redesign, headed up by Dallas-based Wilson & Associates, signals a step back in time to the glamorous era of rail transportation, says the consultancy.
The first Blue Train was commissioned in the 1930s, while the present train has been running since 1972. The South African government’s transportation arm Spoornet currently has two trains in operation – between Capetown, Johannesburg and Pretoria, and Capetown and Victoria Falls.
The refurbished train, set to be on track next September, will also cover the new routes to the Eastern Transvaal region and the southern Cape coastal region.
Designers at Wilson & Associates in Dallas collaborated with the consultancy’s six-year-old Johannesburg office on the project (DW 2 December 1994).
The train compartments, decked out in rich royal colours and gold, are being upgraded to include en suite bathrooms while a club car has been added to the dining and lounge cars. “The seating is comfortable and sumptuous and recalls the era of the 1930s,” says the consultancy.
To implement the Blue Train’s luxurious service, staff are being recruited from a British butler school.