Royal Exhibition at the Dutch Railway Museum

This year, the Dutch Railway Museum will be organising a major international exhibition on royal trains under the title: Royal Class, regal journeys. For the first time ever, historical royal trains from all over Europe can be seen in a single exhibition. All these magnificent trains provide a unique impression of the luxurious style in which European royalty once travelled. Royal Class, regal journeys will be open from 15 April through 5 September 2010 in the Dutch Railway Museum 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. The Santarem railway museum in Portugal has kindly lent us 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). It goes without saying that carriages used over the years by the Dutch royal household will also be on show. Thanks to sponsorship from the BankGiro Lottery, the Railway Museum is building a replica of the saloon car originally built in 1864 for Queen Anna Paulowna.

Visitors to Royal Class will be received in a regal fashion. After a brief lesson in royal etiquette in the museum’s Royal Waiting Room, visitors 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 is the stimulus given by royal families to the promotion and advancement of rail travel. Visitors will also be able to see how the way sovereigns ruled their nations gradually changed, often because of the railways. Royal travellers also used trains for more personal reasons, of course, such as visiting relatives and for holidays.

Royal Class, regal journeys.
15 April to 5 September 2010