Visitors from around the world annually return to the internationally renowned Stars of Sandstone Festival to be part of a premier steam and heritage event in the Southern Hemisphere and they will be doing it in style in 2019, with The Blue Train stopping over for the first time.
Anna Funder once said: “I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.”
Passengers will be sure of where they are going on the Blue Train, which will be taking passengers on its first chartered journey to the 10-day Stars of Sandstone event in Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State. The festival will be held between 4 and 14 April 2019 and the Blue Train will be stopping over at the event from the 3rd to the 6th. The romance and relics of yesteryear will be brought back to life and anyone with a fascination for steam railways, vintage agriculture equipment, transport, military equipment, vintage aircraft will attest to that.
The world renowned Blue Train comprises of 23 De Luxe Suites and 3 Luxury Suites, all offering breathtaking views of the diverse South African landscape. Private en-suite bathrooms, butler service, gourmet dining and extravagant interiors ensures that passengers will be travelling in style. The train generally operates between Johannesburg and Cape Town, but it also often travels to other destinations in South Africa. It is available for charter in shorter arrangements too, similar to what has been done for the Stars of Sandstone 2019 event.
For more than 70 years, discerning passengers from across the globe have been pampered on the Blue Train, which has been compared to luxurious international rail journeys like the Orient Express. It is a bespoke adventure, perfect for packing silks and steam safari luggage. Passengers will check in for the 3-night train trip at 07:00 at the Blue Train VIP Lounge at the Pretoria Station. Pre-departure drinks and snacks will be served after boarding and butlers will escort passengers to 5-star suites before departing for Ficksburg. Brunch and dinner will be served in the stylish Dining Cart and high tea will be hosted in the Lounge Cart. Post-dinner drinks, cognac and Cuban cigars will also be available prior to retiring to the luxurious compartments at the end of the evening.
The Blue Train will be stationed at Vailima at Sandstone, next to the 2ft narrow-gauge line, from where visitors to the festival will be transported by a complimentary shuttle. Passengers will have the option to relax back on the train in the comfort of their own compartments or the luxurious lounge at any time.
Compiled by: Renate Engelbrecht