Returning to Livingstone we did more touristy things including a trip on our Steam Train – The Royal Livingstone Express.
The train now is parked along the main road near ZRA in the new Bushtracks Station. It is makes Livingstone look very special to see the train on full view for everyone to see. Previously it was behind the yellow and black painted gate in a back ‘alley’ and we couldn’t see it clearly when passing.
The Royal Livingstone Express has special rates for Zambians so do give them a ring to find out a price – it is a very exciting trip and well worth the money. There are now two different routes. The original route is along the Mulobezi line and into the Mosi-oa-Tunya Park but recently Bushtracks has decided to take the train onto the Victoria Falls Bridge. This is a totally different experience – a historical tour.
We joined the train for a ride to the bridge. After arriving at the Bushtracks Station we walked to the train on the red carpet and were given a welcoming glass of something – beer, wine or soft drink. The train was full-ish and we joined all the other guests in the carriages. As soon as we were all aboard the
locomotive pushed the train in to Livingstone main station and then down the line towards the Victoria Falls.
I just love steam trains – I can remember riding in them when I was young – yes, I am old, now. I enjoy the sound of the locomotive as it belches smoke from its funnel and the smell of the coal as it burns, heating up the water into steam to drive the engine.
All along the route Peter Jones regaled us with stories of the train, Livingstone and Zambia in the old days. As we all know, Peter is quite a story-teller and loves his history. He was rushing from one carriage to the other to keep us all entertained.
Meanwhile the waiters kept our glasses replenished as we rattled along the tracks. When we arrived at the bridge we all got off to have a walk. The spray from the Victoria Falls was billowing up from below the bridge – just as Cecil Rhodes had wanted. The road and tracks were wet. Some of the guests, including our visiting Londoner, Rob, were allowed to get into the locomotive and see the inner workings.
Re-boarding the train we trundled back up the track for a while and then the train stopped so that we could enjoy our dinner. It was getting dark then and the waiters rushed around serving our dinner. The food is prepared at the Royal Livingstone Hotel and brought onto the train for final touches. It really is excellent, of course. The wine and conversation flowed. All too soon the train continued its journey back to Livingstone and the ride came to an end.
A very enjoyable outing. Try it.
Excerpt from : The Livingstone Weekly
By Jill Staden
25 June 2014