After Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, told MPs the Royal Train would only have five to ten years left in its life, it seemed The Queen would lose what was an iconic mode of transportation.
Yet, much to the relief of the Royal Family, the train has “no end in sight” according to a source that spoke to The Telegraph.
Queen Elizabeth made it known that the train was her favourite method of getting around and tests were undertaken to better understand the state of the Royal Train.
The source said: “Sir Alan Reid reported to Parliament a few years ago that the train may have to be decommissioned shortly. But since then tests have revealed it has more life in it than previously thought.
“There’s no end in sight to its use and no fixed, agreed horizon in terms of when it will become inoperable or be decommissioned. For the Queen and members of the Royal Family it is a sensible and cost effective way of travelling, enabling them to stay the night close to the location of an engagement the following day – but without causing the disruption or security costs that, say, a hotel in a city centre would entail.”
Penny Junor, Prince Charles and Prince Harry’s biographer, added in the obvious similarities to the Royal Yacht, Britannia that was decommissioned in 1997, saying: “The train is very dear to them. It’s fine for them to travel on public transport, but on the Royal Train they can sleep and, as the Royal Yacht was, its somewhere completely private, with everything they need on board.
“Everybody knows what it means to them. Yes, there’s a cost attached to it, but there’s a cost attached to having a Monarchy and it is what we want as a country.”
The train is currently homed at the railway depot in Buckinghamshire, but with the possibility of the redevelopment of the land, a new home will have to be considered.
Buckingham Palace, Network Rail and St Modwen are all on the table.
Last year, the Royal Train cost £800,000 in maintenance and operations. That is a drop from the £900,000 that the train cost the year before.
Approximately the train makes 15 trips a year which works out to about £52 per mile. The Royal Family spends about £12 per mile for air travel.
In the 2015-2016 report, seven trips were taken by Prince Charles, five by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh took one solo. Prince Charles was the last royal to use the train on the 24 and 25 January.