Author Topic: Imperial Train  (Read 134781 times)

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Offline JD

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Imperial Train
« on: January 26, 2004, 06:32:31 PM »
First off - Excellent site.
I don't know where else to post this, but does anyone have any information about the Tsar's train(s)?

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2004, 08:08:41 PM »
The Imperial Train wagons that Nicholas II abdicated in were kept at Peterhof after the revolution.  There was a revolutionary display with a platform and slogans.  It was left behind during the German occupation, but the items from it were rescued.  After the recovery of Peterhof by Soviet forces the train cars were found in terrible condition.  I don't know what happened to them after that.  A reconstruction of the train car was made and used in a Soviet film of the late 50's or 60's.  It was an amazing recreation.  One of the two men who accepted Nicholas's abdication remained in Rusia after the revolution and the film was his recollections of the event years later.

Chris Snyder

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2004, 08:19:39 PM »
The Tsar actually had two Pullman trains.  On the outside, both were identical, which was to detour assasins.   The actual train that the Tsar and his family travelled in was much more luxurious of course.  The train consisted of many cars.  There was a dining car stocked with a complete kitchen, icebox, wine room and a dining room that could seat 20.  There were cars for servants, tutors, and the ladies and gentleman in-waiting to the family.  A panelled lounge car provided an elegant meeting place for the members of the imperial suite.  There were cars that contained the rooms of the Grand Duchesses and of Tsarevich Alexis, including thier school rooms.  The Tsar had a car for his study, and Alexandra even had a smaller version of her mauve boudoir on the train!  The outer color of the train was royal blue with the golden eagles on the outside.  I have pieced most of this information together from various books I have, and I do not think that there is a website yet that has much information about the Tsars trains.

Offline JD

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2004, 08:49:19 PM »
Thanks a lot guys.  I recall reading in the manual for "The Last Express" (a fantastic computer adventure game which i heartily recommend to anyone interested in the pre-war period or train travel in general) that the Tsar had used the Orient Express (it suggested that he did not use it travelling incognito but attached his cars to the train). From several things Chris says this sounds highly unlikely - can anyone confirm or refute this?

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2004, 12:33:20 PM »
I have around ten photographs of the interiors of the private rooms of the trains.  I have always meant to put them up, but it would be a lot of work and I was hoping to have more of them and a better understandiing of the interiors before doing it.

I don't think Nicholas travelled on a train anywhere incognito.  The Okrana would never have permitted it when he was Tsar and his father would not have allowed it when he was alive.  Don't you agree?

Offline JD

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2004, 01:17:56 PM »
Well, the manual suggested it wasn't incognito but rather that he attached his cars (the official ones, i guess, as it said blue ones emblazoned with a double eagle). I find that rather pointless and, in light of what Chris said about having 2 trains for security, extremely unlikely. He would be very open to an attack if it was known he was travelling on the Orient Express. Granted I wouldn't expect anyone here to know if he _did_ (unless you've got connections w/ Wagons Lits), but I thought there might be enough information to say, "no, that would never have happened" (and it sounds like there is).
Re: Him travelling incognito, I'm really quite ignorant about the power dynamics of Romanov Russia (and, well, Romanov Russia in general), but wouldn't an autocratic tsar be able to say "screw you guys, i'm outta here" if he wanted to? And isn't it quite likely that he'd want to get away once in awhile? I recall reading that Franz Josef would travel incognito occasionally, although that may've been a stretch (his wife travelled frequently but he had a poor relationship with her and was an _extremely_ staid man - check his imperial bedroom here (http://www.schoenbrunn.at/en/site/publicdir/0103020104_109.php#11816) if you're interested). That said, if no one's ever unearthed anything suggesting that the Tsar did travel incognito, it's likely he didn't.

And Bob, it'd be _great_ if you posted those pics whenever you have the time - don't worry about descriptions if you can't get the info/don't have it all yet. You can always edit/add as you go along, and 10 sounds pretty plentiful to me. I was wondering how you knew it was an amazing reconstruction! Naturally though, don't worry about it if it's too much of a pain.

edit: Whoops, i didn't see platon's post. Sounds unlikely that he would've defied tradition/etiquette/safety/etc. so he could've had a private holiday somewhere in Europe.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by JD »

Chris Snyder

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2004, 07:34:30 PM »
I would also love to see those photos Bob!  I have read quite extensively on the Romanovs, particularly the last Tsar and have never seen or heard about photos of the interior of his train, so those photos would be a real treat!  As for the comment on the Orient Express, and the Tsar hitching his cars to it, would that even have been allowed by the operators of either the Orient or his own engineers?  It seems highly unlikely that both parties would have agreed, and even so, for what purpose? The Tsar could not possibly travel incognito.  He had his children, his wife and thier entire entourage, and someone was surely bound to "leak" the information.  

Offline JD

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2004, 07:57:18 PM »
It does seem incredibly unlikely but I checked again and it's stated quite authoritatively.  I can't believe that the Orient Express wouldn't have allowed it (good publicity, he's an emperor for chrisakes etc); dunno about his engineers, but you're certainly right that there'd be no need for it.

Chris Snyder

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2004, 08:20:47 PM »
Wow JD...that is amazing! That's really interesting.  I would love to get my hands on that manual!  Can you provide any information on where I can find it?  

Offline JD

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2004, 09:18:44 PM »
Are you sure? It's just a game manual and it's only part of one sentence of a very brief history of the train -- "Famous cars included the Imperial varnish of the Russian Tsar, whose dark blue cars proudly bore the resplendent Double Eagle;...."(it then lists of Viceroy of India).  I'm 100% certain they wouldn't just make something like that up, and I also know that some of the other famous passengers they list check out, but it just doesn't seem to fit. I saw a little book on the OE in a library once, read through the section on distinguished passengers, and saw no mention, although he obviously wouldn't have travelled as a regular passenger - not sure if that would matter.
To answer your question, I'd check E-bay for the game (you might like it, whatever your opinion on computer games; it's completely unique) - I actually checked a few days ago because I'm afraid my copy may've been lost. It was going for under $10 at the time.  Just make sure it comes w/ the manual, of course. It also might be archived online or elsewhere for free access, for all I know, but I'm warning you it ain't much.
I _had_ an extra copy (I bought a second copy of the game from e-bay just for an included gameguide), but now I seem to be reduced to one manual + the gameguide.

(actually, now that I've said all that, I could just type out the relevant pages (about 3 paragraphs total), do you want me to do that? It wouldn't be a problem but it's mostly on the OE and not about the Tsar, so I'm not sure if you're interested. You'd only miss out on the diagrams if so.)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by JD »

Nick Nicholson

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2004, 01:06:59 PM »
For anyone who is interested, a dealer in New York has a wonderful Russian Historical painting called "The Accident at Borki" showing the massive wreck of the Imperial Train from which Alexander III emerged completely unhurt.  

The trains are depicted as cobalt blue with gold double headed eagles on the sides. Does anyone know the date of the accident off hand?  It would be interesting to know if Nicholas simply redecorated the cars he inherted from his father, or if, in fact, he ordered his own "Imperial Varnish" -- was ALexandra's "Mauve boudoir" Car ordered specifically for her?  Interesting question.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2004, 02:32:49 PM »
It would seem highly unlikely for the Emperor's cars to be attached to any train on the continent, they were of different track gauges.
Also, several years ago, in Las Vegas, there was a Romanov exhibit that contained what was said to be the Emperor's private car. Well, at least part of it. I do not know if this was a recreation or the original. The catalogue did not specify.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Robert_Hall »
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Chris Snyder

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2004, 03:12:42 PM »
The year of Alexander III's train wreck was 1888.  I am sure that the train cars were constantly changed or replaced as needed, so both Tsars probably used the same train.  Perhaps Nicholas had a newer model than his fathers?  I believe that Alexandras Mauve "car" was a regular train car and then was redecorated by her, as she did in the Alexander Palace.

Sunny

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2004, 07:15:11 PM »
What an interesting thread  :) Didn't Tsar Alexander's superhuman lifting of that train, lead to the kidney problem that caused his death?

chris snyder

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Re: Imperial Train
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2004, 08:27:50 PM »
I believe that when the train crashed and the ceiling of the faimly's dining car collapsed, the Tsar Alexander III lifted it long enough for his family to crawl free of th wreck.  This exertion caused a condition called nephritis, which is an enlargement of the vessels in the kidneys, which ultimately caused his early demise.