Luxury Railway Travel (Hardback)
A Social and Business History
Guest blog post: The Inquisitive Archivist
A guest post written by author Martyn Pring for the Mary Evans Picture Library blog, The Inquisitive Archivist: Travelling in Style.
British luxury rail travel was not just the domain of the Pullman Company. In fact, they were far from the only providers as railway companies in Britain were extremely active from late Victorian times competing for leisure business. Various railway operators were at the forefront of deluxe rail travel services across pre-grouping, Big Four and BR eras when first-class travel was increasingly adapted for the needs of the business community. Recently Britain’s railway heritage has been responsible for kick-starting a modern tourist spectacle as specialist operators run luxury day excursion, sleeping-car and fine-dining trains.
Martyn Pring has carried out considerable research tracing the evolution of British luxury train travel weaving railway, social and travel history threads around a number of Britain’s mainline routes traditionally associated with glamorous trains. Drawing on contemporary coverage, he chronicles the luxury products and services shaped by railway companies and hospitality businesses for Britain’s burgeoning upper and middle-classes and wealthy overseas visitors, particularly Americans, who demanded more civilised and comfortable rail travel.
By Edwardian times, a pleasure-palace industry emerged as entrepreneurs, hotel proprietors, local authorities and railway companies all collaborated developing upscale destinations, building civic amenities, creating sightseeing and leisure pursuits and in place-making initiatives to attract prosperous patrons. Luxury named trains delivered sophisticated and fashionable settings encouraging a golden age of civilised business and leisure travel. Harkening back to the inter-war years, modern luxury train operators now redefine and capture the allure and excitement of dining and train travel experiences.