ONCE only the rich and famous were allowed on board. But from tomorrow the general public can step into this opulent Pullman carriage - for the first time in its 100-year history.
Visitors can experience the soft carpets underfoot, the dimmed lighting and catch the heady aroma of lavendar wax, Madeira wine and hint of cigar smoke, a century after it entered service.
Topaz, the only Pullman carriage in the national collection at the National Railway Museum, has been carefully restored and an “explainer” will be on hand to tell the story of what it would have been like to have travelled on board.
Stars of the day, the rich and famous would have travelled in the Pullman Ist Class carriage, a notch above plain Ist class, and open only to a select few, and the journey, with a seven-course meal, would have set the traveller back the monthly salary of a bricklayer. The carriage entered service with South Eastern & Chatham Railway in 1914. It ran on services between London and the South Coast, on pre-war continental boat trains and the Bournemouth Belle, and was withdrawn in 1960.