London

Queen recreates historic train journey

The Queen standing by train Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen unveiled the new livery on the train at Paddington Station

The Queen has joined celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of the first train journey taken by a British monarch.

She recreated Queen Victoria's trip from Slough to Paddington on 13 June 1842 on the Great Western Railway.

The Queen made the 19-minute journey on the new Intercity Express train along with the Duke of Edinburgh.

Of her experience, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal "it was delightful and so quick".

The monarch added: "It took us exactly 30 minutes going to Paddington, & the motion was very slight, & much easier than a carriage, also no dust or great heat."

Victoria had been persuaded on board by Prince Albert, a veteran of rail travel who was fascinated by the new technology.

Image copyright Steam Pciture library
Image caption An artist impression of Queen Victoria's first journey on a train
Image copyright Steam Picture Library
Image caption The royals travelled in style when they took the train

Joining the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh was Isambard Thomas and Gillian White, the direct descendants of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sir Daniel Gooch who had accompanied Queen Victoria on her journey.

Before boarding the train, the Royals visited the original waiting room at Slough station, which was used by the Queen's great-great-grandmother.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption One of the new Great Western Trains is named after the monarch

Mr Thomas said: "I was very much at ease, I didn't feel awkward. It was fascinating how much interest she has in trains and in train journeys. I think train travel is a quicker way to get around because the roads are too congested now.

"Obviously it's a different thing if you're the monarch; you're not sat in second class, queuing for the buffet."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Queen was interested in electrification and the effects of diesel
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The journey took 19 minutes

Mr Thomas, a topographic designer from Greenwich, south-east London, said the Queen knew about "the history of trains" and had "a proper knowledge of Queen Victoria's diaries of the event 175 years ago and obviously quite interested in what Great Western Railway are doing now".

"The Queen was also interested in the technology and the electrification and the effects of diesel," he added.

"I think it's remarkable that she and the Duke of Edinburgh agreed to do this."

Image copyright PA
Image caption She was greeted by school children at Slough station
Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duke of Edinburgh was also on the journey

Mark Hopwood, managing director of Great Western Railway said he was delighted the Queen and Prince Philip recreated the journey.

"We are extremely proud of our heritage and this occasion marks a very special moment in the history of the Great Western Railway," he said.

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