HONG KONG – The first images of Belmond Grand Hibernian’s carriages are released as the transformation into 20 luxury en-suite cabins, two dining cars and an observation car gets under way in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A team of 40 multi-skilled craftsmen at specialist outfitters Mivan Marine Ltd, will undertake 35,000 hours of work at the world-class production facility in County Antrim preparing the train for its inaugural journey from Dublin on 9th August 2016.
Belmond has a great legacy of operating some of the world’s most famous trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman; building the company’s 7th luxury train to exacting standards requires cutting edge technology mixed with traditional skills. Mivan Marine Ltd were chosen for their expertise and experience working with maritime and hospitality industries however the build of a luxury train is a historic first for both the company and Northern Ireland.
“We chose to work with Mivan not only for their extensive experience but they have also shared our passion and vision for Belmond Grand Hibernian from the outset – it is very important to Belmond that we work with local experts and craftsman to create a truly authentic train that reflects the spirit of the countries through which it will travel” commented Gary Franklin, Managing Director, Belmond Trains & Cruises.
Belmond purchased the 10 carriages and locomotive from Irish Rail earlier this year and began transformation of the mark 3 carriages into Ireland’s first luxury sleeper train. The work started with the mechanical engineering and painting of the exterior midnight blue and silver livery at Brodie’s in Kilmarnock, Scotland. The carriages have been carefully transported back across the Irish Sea for this next stage in development – the entire project is managed by Railway Specialist, Nigel Woolford of Assenta.
The interior design of the 10 carriages, by James Park Associates, reflects Dublin’s Georgian Architecture with inspiration taken from the flora and fauna of Irish landscape. All interior furnishings are supplied by local businesses including hand-crafted stone counters in the observation car from a Dublin based company and wool blended carpets from Ulster. The designs all feature Belmond Grand Hibernian’s Celtic knot weaved throughout in colours matching the tartan of the counties after which the carriages are named including sleeper car ‘Waterford’ and dining car ‘Sligo’ (below).
Belmond Grand Hibernian will be the first luxury sleeper train to launch in Ireland offering 2, 4 and 6 night itineraries from Dublin through the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.