Pandemic makes South Africa’s luxury train affordable for natives

Cape Town, Mar 05 (AFP):
Waiters in grey waistcoats bearing dainty platters of canapés circle the private lounge at Cape Town’s main train station and the tinkle of champagne glasses fills the air.
Timeless ease fills the room as passengers wait to embark on the fabled Blue Train for a luxurious two-night trek across South Africa. But even in this cosseted world, 2021 intrudes, showing that nothing can escape the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. Passengers are discreetly ushered off in small groups to a fast-track coronavirus testing centre nearby. A negative result, sent by text, is followed by an elegant appetiser lunch — the final step before “All aboard!” signals the start of the adventure. In the background stands the dashing Blue Train, ready to accommodate excited passengers in 19 plush wagons lined with wooden panels and polished brass.

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