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The Royal Train ?Crown Express?

The Royal Train ?Crown Express?

10/6/2003 12:00:00 AM

Today, October 6th, 2003, turns 115 years from the establishment of the Bulgarian State Railways. To celebrate that anniversary, a steam engine 01.02 with an elite train composition called Crown Express was restored and set into motion again. The town of Karlovo is the centre of these celebrations. The choice is not random ? this year there are three significant anniversaries that town is connected with: the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Sub-Balkan railway line, the 70th anniversary of the construction of the Karlovo-Plovdiv railway line, and the 40th anniversary of the electrification of the Sofia-Plovdiv railway line.
The celebrations of the 115th anniversary from the establishment of the Bulgarian State Railways were officially opened in Karlovo by the Premiere Simeon Sax-Coburg Gotha. At 12.30 pm he met the Crown Express at the Karlovo railway station, to greet and the VIP passengers ? the Vice-Premiere Nikolay Vassilev and all the important guests, which he himself joined. The next stop of the Crown Express was the town of Banya, where the Premiere got off the train. He was specially met by the town?s Mayor Parten Gichev. The Crown Express, with all the VIP passengers on board, continued its way towards Plovdiv where it arrived at 4 pm. A memorial plate, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the electrification of the Sofia-Plovdiv railway line, was unveiled in Plovdiv. At exactly 5 pm the Royal train composition left for Sofia, this time drawn by electrical-powered engine.
Let us give a brief historical information  ? Crown Express is the only still functioning train in Europe, produced especially by order for a Royalty (Tsar Boris III). In the period 1937-38, two of the three most precious carriages of the Crown Express came directly from the production factory Linkenhoffmanwerke in Breslau, Germany. These are super-luxury carriages, designed especially to carry the Bulgarian Royal family ? Tsar (i.e. King) Boris III and his wife Tsaritsa (i.e. Queen) Joanna. The third carriage, specially designed for Tsar Boris?s younger brother, Prince Kyril, came from another factory ? the one in Kassel, Germany. Each of the three carriages has an apartment, bedroom chambers and a bathroom.
The carriages are especially valuable for their preserved furniture, dated from the period before World War Two. The walls and the ceilings are lined with expensive wooden panelling. When going into tunnels or when dark, beautiful ceiling lights embrace the premises in either rich or poor lighting. Each of the bedrooms has a clock and a mercury thermometer. The expensive upholstery of the chairs and armchairs and the simple but stylish curtains on the windows contribute to the cosiness. The three carriages are equally luxurious, and each one is equipped with a special device displaying the exact speed of the train, the distance passed in kilometres, as well as many additional options?
So, today, the Bulgarian State Railways successfully offer the well-off foreign tourists coming to Bulgaria the latest attraction ? a Royal train trip. Notwithstanding the ticket prices issue, the requests are quite too much and the schedule is booked for months ahead.

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