Originally launched in May 1985, the train, in its current form, dates from May 1990. The original owners put together a set of carriages (all rather different), which were rented in and called The Royal Scotsman
, launching in the Spring of 1985. The carriage leases ran for five years and it was a success – the train won the Queen’s Award for Export.
After the initial five-year period elapsed, the decision was taken to purchase outright a different set of carriages, designed to the owners specifications. Working with designer James Park, ten Pullman carriages were subsequently bought and transformed with all the interior woodwork made to specification by a specialist woodworking company in Bournemouth and shipped to the construction site and installed. This second set of carriages replaced the first in May 1990. The new set incorporated many improvements – each cabin now had its own private facilities, steam heating was replaced by electric heating, seating for all at the same time in the Observation and Dining Cars and capacity moved from twenty-eight to thirty-two. In 1997, the capacity was further increased from thirty-two to thirty-six to provide sixteen twin and four single state cabins.
Owned by Belmond Management Service, today's Royal Scotsman
set is thus the second to carry its name. The running order of The Royal Scotsman
carriages is: Observation Car with verandah viewing platform; Dining Car Number One (Raven); Dining Car Number Two (Victory); State Car number one, two, three, four and five; and a Service Car. The sequence is in running order from the rear so guests can best enjoy the passing countryside.
At one end of the train is perhaps the most distinctive vehicle, the open-ended Observation Car, converted from the Pullman kitchen car, Snipe. Originally built in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company, it entered service in 1961 as a First Class kitchen car. In 1989, the car was bought from its private owner, Michael Bailiss, and converted it to its current luxury configuration, able to comfortably hold all thirty-six guests at any time.
Adjacent to this is Dining Car Number One, which is still referred to by its former Pullman car name, Raven. Colin Angell, a firm of cabinet makers from Evesham, Worcestershire, won the contract to transform a 1962 second-class Pullman carriage into Raven, with a capacity for twenty guests.
Next in the formation is Dining Car Number Two, known as Victory and so called since it was built in 1945. Victory was built as a London & North Eastern Railway Director's Saloon and acquired from Sir Bill McAlpine. The transformation was completed in a number of weeks - from its bright orange curtains and brushed aluminium fittings to wood panelling, inlaid with intricate marquetry, mahogany veneer cupboards and specially made dining chairs and tables – not to mention a state of the art modern kitchen. Eight marquetry panels with intricate designs of thistles, flowing ribbons and butterflies line the walls and an inlaid frieze of several different woods runs on into the corridors. Victory can accommodate up to sixteen guests, ensuring all guests can dine at the same sitting, across the two dining cars.
The five State Sleeping Cars follow. These cars, like the Verandah car, were originally built as Pullman Cars in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company.
The sleeping cars provide sixteen twin cabins and four single State Cabins, beautifully fitted out in rich marquetry. All cabins have fixed, lower beds, dressing table, full-length wardrobe, individually controlled heating, cooling ceiling fans, opening windows and cabin service call button. Each cabin has its own private facilities with shower, wash-basin and toilet and a constant supply of hot water.