Today, The Queen and Prince Philip recreated the historic train journey made by Queen Victoria in 1842; the Sovereign and Prince Consort marked the first train journey by a British Monarch by travelling from Slough to London Paddington on a Great Western Railway train – just as Victoria did 175 years ago.
Onboard the train The Queen sat next to Isambard Thomas, the great-great-great-grandson of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was key in creating the Great Western Railway; she was also joined by Gillian White, the great-great-granddaughter of Sir Daniel Gooch, who was the driver of Queen Victoria’s train in 1842.
It appears that Victoria was quite content with her trip, writing in her diary: “There was no dust or great heat, in fact it was delightful and so quick.” The Queen’s train today, however, was a prototype intercity electric train running at twice the speed.
The Queen appeared particularly interested in the latest developments of the network and new trains, while the Duke of Edinburgh chatted to executives for a long period.
Mr Thomas said The Queen was knowledgeable about “the history of trains” and had “a proper knowledge of Queen Victoria’s diaries of the event 175 years ago and obviously quite interested in what Great Western Railway are doing now”.
After their 19 minute-journey, the Royals arrived at London Paddington; here, The Queen took part in a naming ceremony to mark the 175th Anniversary. The engine was names after Her Majesty, ‘Queen Elizabeth II’, while the other leading carriage is named ‘Queen Victoria’
The trains are due to enter service later this year.
This evening, The Queen and Duke are due to attend Evensong, in celebration of the Centenary of the Order of the Companions of Honour, at the Chapel Royal of Hampton Court Palace.