LUXURY RAILWAY TRAVEL: A Social and Business History

Book number: 92166 Product format: Hardback Author: MARTYN PRING

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Bibliophile price £18.50
Published price £35

Luxury railway travel exerts a glamour associated with the Orient Express, the Golden Arrow, the Blue Train, and the Flying Scotsman, all of them created by 19th century entrepreneurs who saw their chance to profit from an elite network of luxury travel to equally luxurious destinations. With the development of lavish civic amenities in fashionable resorts, by 1914 there were few major British cities without an upmarket railway hotel. The high point of luxury travel was the Edwardian era, with affluent middle class passengers taking the train to healthy spas, race meetings and stately homes, but there was a resurgence during the wars and then a renewal in the post-war period. This beautifully produced book focuses particularly on the UK, where in the 1870s the Midland Railway's Pullman carriages set a standard of luxury that included the elegance of uniformed attendants and a gourmet experience in the dining cars. Buffet cars were introduced by Pullman as early as 1883, and by the 1890s sleeping cars had been established running off a corridor with berths sleeping crosswise to the direction of travel, an American style quickly adopted in the UK. An LNER poster from 1924 headlined "August the 12th" advertises the sleepers from King's Cross to Inverness for the start of the grouse season, always big business for Anglo-Scottish companies, with a large number of American visitors also on board. The author devotes a whole chapter to the "Three routes to Scotland". The East Coast train from King's Cross, called the Scotch Express and then the Flying Scotsman, had 24 carriages and by 1932 included a cocktail bar and hairdressing salon. The west coast route was built in stages, finally heading to Carlisle along the Lune valley via Shap, hauled by the Stanier-designed Royal Scot. Finally the central route was constructed via Settle and Carlisle, a latecomer but nowadays the most iconic of them all. 366pp, numerous colour reproductions of archive posters.
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ISBN 9781526713247

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