The Queen arrives in Somerset on the royal train

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
The Queen travelled to Somerset on the Royal Train [Photos: PA]

The Queen arrived at Castle Cary Station, for her visit to Somerset on Thursday morning, on board the Royal Train.

The nine-carriage vessel dates back to 1842, but the Royal Family have been scrutinised on multiple occasions because of the high costs of running the train.

In recent years, they’ve increased the use of normal scheduled services – the Queen often travels by commuter train when going to Sandringham at Christmas.

Royal finance expert David McClure tells Yahoo UK: “The Royal Train is very expensive, it costs almost a £1 million a year to run and last year was probably only used about a dozen times, so more than likely, it is nearing the end of its life and when the Queen goes, the Royal Train will probably go too.”

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To control costs, the Royal Train is only used by the Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh, or the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Last June, the newly-wed Duchess of Sussex accompanied Her Majesty on a trip to Cheshire. 

The Duchess of Sussex travelled on the Royal Train with the Queen to Cheshire last June [Photo: PA]

The train was first commissioned for use by Queen Victoria back in 1842. 

Today, most of the carriages date back to 1977, when they were used for the Silver Jubilee tours, though it is rare that they are all used at one time. They can be moved around to accommodate its intended use and amount of people on board. 

The Queen has her own carriage, which includes a formal entrance hall, bedroom, bathroom, seating area and her office. The Prince of Wales has his own lounge. 

The Queen pictured in her office on the Royal Train in 2002 [Photo: Getty]

The train features a kitchen and a large 12-seater dining area for the royal family to enjoy breakfast.

The carriages also provide accommodation for the royal household staff, police personal protection officers and railway staff members.

Back in 2002, director of royal travel, Tim Hewlett, told the BBC: “There is a perception the train is a bit like the Orient Express. But there are not many bathroom furnishings you could not get in Homebase or B&Q.”

The Queen is undertaking a number of engagements in Somerset, including a visit to  Manor Farm Stables, boarding school King’s Bruton and the Hauser & Wirth Somerset art gallery.