The world’s most photographed woman loved travelling on trains. We discover the secrets of Princess Diana’s lasting railway legacy.
In the 15 years she was married to Prince Charles, like all the royals, Princess Diana caried out many official engagements, both here in the UK and overseas. Many trips were done by car but like the rest of the royal family, she also got to travel on the royal train too.
Trains in the UK
Like all working royals, Diana often travelled by train (first class of course) to her engagements. And she was on hand to give the royal seal of approval to new trains too. On the day she officially opened the British Red Cross train she was surrounded by well wishers.
The Lady Diana Spencer Train
At the height of her fame in the 1980s, Princess Diana had a train named after her – the Lady Diana Spencer train. Owned by the Crewe Diesel Preservation Group, it was regularly used on the railways. Not surprisingly, it was a big hit with trainspotters before it was taken out of service. Hornby even made a model of the train.
But following a recent deal between the train’s owners and Locomotive Services Ltd, the No. 47712 Lady Diana Spencer has returned to the UK’s main line. To ensure its future and safety, it can only travel at speeds of up to 75mph. If you see it, take a snap – it will be very popular. We love this lasting train legacy to Princesss Diana.
Trains around the world
When travelling overseas, the Princess also travelled by a lot by train. We love this photograph of a young Diana leaping from a train in Australia during a tour of the country with Prince Charles. Health and safety rules would probably put a stop to that these days!
She also enjoyed a ride on Vancouver’s famous Skytrain which still operates now.
How the royal train played a role at her funeral
What is so bittersweet about Diana’s obvious affection for trains is how the Queen’s Royal Train played a significant role in her funeral on 16 September 1997.
Arriving ahead of the hearse, Princes Charles, William and Harry made the journey in the Royal Train from Euston. Accompanying them were the Princess’ family, Charles Spencer and her sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
They disembarked at Long Buckby railway station in Northamptonshire before being taken by Rolls-Royce to the family estate, Althorp, a few miles away. That afternoon the Princess was buried on an island in a lake where she had enjoyed playing as a child.