Prince of Rails’ expensive trip

Prince Charles
Prince Charles

When Prince Charles took a trip to Wyre earlier this year it left the taxpayer picking up a fairly hefty bill.

A two-day tour of Lancashire and North Yorkshire, which including a visit to Garstang, saw the heir to the throne let the train take the strain.

At £46,038, the trip from Windsor to Clitheroe, and then on to Settle and Harrogate, was the most expensive journey undertaken by the Royal Train in 2016-17, according to Palace accounts.

In all, the journey worked out at £95.32 a mile. Had the Prince taken a normal scheduled train, his ticket could have cost as little as £255, or roughly 50 pence a mile.

Despite the extra expense, Palace sources say it is still the safest way to shuttle senior Royals to public engagements around the country.

“We believe that, though it’s not the cheapest way to travel, it does represent many of the features that we look for in terms of safety, security, not causing disruption to lots of other people, convenience and environmental aspects,” said one source.

“It does mean that someone like the Queen can actually arrive first thing in the morning, rather than having to get up at some ungodly hour, and she can arrive rested, briefed and prepared.”

The Prince of Wales visited food producers in Clitheroe, BAE Systems at Samlesbury and cheesemakers in Garstang, before moving on to North Yorkshire - for more cheese - the following day.

He travelled in the claret liveried royal train, which has sleeper, dining and lounge carriages.

Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to travel by train in 1842 between Windsor Castle and London.

The annual cost of the service had reached £1.9m during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

But that figure has been significantly reduced to just under £290,000 last year when the Royal Family made just 14 journeys by train costing at least £15,000 a trip.

All the current rolling stock was built between 1977/1987.There are nine carriages, but not all are used for all trips.