Rovos Rail

Recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era as you step aboard our reconditioned wood-panelled coaches and enjoy fine cuisine in five-star luxury.

Rovos Rail Station
For Rovos Rail passengers, a highlight of their journey is a visit to the private station in Capital Park, Pretoria. The once bustling hub of steam locomotion in the old Transvaal is now the headquarters for Rovos Rail. The gracious colonial-style railway station serves as the new departure or arrival point for all train journeys.
The property boasts a small railway museum in addition to its other comprehensive facilities and will, with the addition of semaphore signals and a footbridge, recreate the atmosphere of a fully fledged railway system. It is intended that, with time, this facility should become the foremost working train museum in the world.
The eyes of rail enthusiasts will be drawn to the vast carriage and locomotive sheds where teams of dedicated personnel keep the rolling stock in perfect order. This roofed workshop of 10 000 sq metres straddles 15 railway lines with concrete inspection pits below and is the ultimate repair and maintenance facility for any train operation. The low, red-bricked buildings alongside the new 300-metre platform house laundries, gleaming stainless-steel kitchens and well-stocked storerooms. This is the busy hub of a provisioning operation, which rivals that of a world-class hotel in terms of efficiency and attention to detail.

Observation Cars
The Observation Cars were originally A-28 dining cars built to drawings by Mr W Day. Permission was granted by SAR to run Rovos Rail’s observation cars at the back of the trains, enabling the enlargement of the windows and the construction of unique open-air balconies. Coaches 225 NILE, 226 MODDER and 220 KEI entered service between 1935 and 1938 and stayed with SAR until 1983 when they were sold to Mr S Krok of Johannesburg. They were transported to the Jewish Guild Sports Club grounds in Morningside, Sandton, to become the nucleus of a novel restaurant. Rovos Rail purchased them in 1988 and restored them to service as observation cars. During 2010, a 1960 third-class sleeper 6320 was rebuilt as an observation car and has proved a great success. The ride is also a little better than its counterparts as the bogies are the more modern, commonwealth type.

Dining Cars
The Classic and Edwardian trains travel with beautiful pre-1940 dining cars. Two A-22 twin diners, characterised by their carved roof-supporting pillars and arches, derived their twin designation from running with a dedicated kitchen car. Coach 195 SHANGANI was found in a scrap yard in 1986; her severely dilapidated condition required 18 months of painstaking restoration. Tragically this coach was destroyed in a fire one dismal night in 2008. Coach 197 LETABA was acquired in 1987; she became the third dining car restored to service. Coach 205 UMHLALI was purchased in Johannesburg and was fully restored by 2006. In 1936, SAR introduced the A-28/A-29 series of dining cars. This was a big step forward as they had fly-up, fixed seats, large picture windows with ventilators above and no pillars, giving clean modern lines to the interior and exterior. The first batch of four entered traffic in 1936 and Rovos has two in the fleet. Coach 232 UMVOTI was bought by Rovos in 1998. Kitchen car AA-34 286 was sold to Rovos in 1985. Her dining car 231 ZAMBEZI was extracted with difficulty from a shopping centre and returned to service in 2000. During restoration, the ceiling of the coach was improved with extensive use of wooden trimmings while button-leather seats added opulence. It was fitting that they were reunited several years later. In 2010, dining cars 6447 and 5274 were added to the consist. The first was built from a second-class sleeper, while 5274 was rusted through and a third-class sleeper conversion fondly referred to by the staff as the ‘Rust Bucket’.

Lounge Cars
Expansion plans in 1995 saw the Classic trains move from 42 to 72 guests, making a second lounge car a necessity. Coaches 3215, 8337 and 3293 were originally modern steel-sided sleeper cars. They were stripped and refurbished to create comfortable non-smoking lounge cars, which are placed in the middle of the trains usually ahead of the dining cars. Deep sofas and wingback chairs make for an extremely comfortable car in which guests nodding off for an afternoon snooze are a common sight. The lounge cars are used as lecture rooms on the annual Dar es Salaam journeys and also house a small, discreet gift shop. As with all the service cars the lounges are air-conditioned, yet the windows can be opened allowing in the sights, sounds and scents of Africa. There are few, if any, luxury trains anywhere in the world with this special feature, which has proved of particular benefit when a train has been chartered for a Steam Safari – steam enthusiasts like to enjoy the full majesty of a working locomotive and windows that open are top priority. This feature, coupled with luxury and service as well as a selection of Rovos Rail steam locomotives, makes this a truly unique opportunity to sample long-distance travel behind steam traction.

Club Cars
The Club Car area was created by demolishing the end suite in a deluxe carriage. This was done specifically to host the smokers on the train in a public area and also as an overflow facility adjoining the Observation Car. With a glass passage wall, guests can comfortably watch the scenery on both sides of the train.

Take a look at the trips available with Premier Golf Holidays :

Rovos Rail Golf Safari

Rovos Rail African Golf Collage
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Premier Iberian offers you a fully ATOL protected (T7359)
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 0845 600 3391
 01604 765 131

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