The Royal Livingstone Express is a different yet unique dining experience combining the luxury of Zambia’s Royal Livingstone hotel with the beauty of rail travel.
This train is a luxury rail experience rooted in the nostalgia of a bygone era. This unique luxury rail restoration is an extension of the luxurious five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel. It provides fine wining and dining as you travel through the magnificent picturesque Irwell Valley in Pullman style coaches which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
The Royal Livingstone Express consists of 2 dining cars, a kitchen car, 5 air-conditioned carriages, lounge car, and an observation car and is pulled by either a 10th class 156 or a 12th class 204 locomotive. The Wembley, one of the dining cars, was built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, and went on display in London at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It was shipped to the Union of South Africa and entered service on 19th May 1926.
The Steam Locomotive, 156 is a 10th Class originally belonging to Zambezi Sawmills Limited, the largest private railway network in the entire world. It was used on the Mulobezi Line to pull logging carriages from the forests in Mulobezi to the railhead in Livingstone. Renowned wildlife artist David Shepherd rescued the locomotive and renovated it completely to its previous grandeur and luxury. He then donated it to National Heritage and Bushtracks has subsequently restored the locomotive to working order.
Bushtracks spent almost two years searching for carriages in order to operate this excursion. Rohan Vos of Rovos Rail South Africa, reputed to be ‘the most luxurious train in the world’, found five carriages which were purchased in December 2006. Rovos Rail also agreed to renovate the carriages to their former glory and work began in early 2007.
This unique eco experience can be enjoyed from the comfort of your carriage whilst enjoying one of the most scenic railway passes.