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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 03:59 GMT
Tourists offered ride on Tito's train
Train interior
All aboard for the Tito express (Pictures courtesy of B92 TV)

Serbia is dusting off former leader Josip Broz Tito's private train and offering tourists a rail journey of communist-style splendour from a bygone era.

Marshall Tito's Blue Train, which was last used 24 years ago, still retains the exact fittings, furnishings and period details of the 1950s, when the Yugoslav leader consolidated his grip over a federation of republics.

Hailed by Yugoslavs as one of the most luxurious trains in the world when built in 1947, its carriages, suites and sleeping cars have been preserved completely intact.

Many people would like to go back to those times a little, for nostalgic reasons
Vesna Vukasovic
Belgrade Rail Company

In it, Tito entertained world leaders such as Yasser Arafat, the Soviet Union's Leonid Brezhnev and India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Serbia's B92 TV reported.

Now the Serbian Rail Company wants the Blue Train to earn some money, and its first tourist trip is scheduled for 31 December between Belgrade and Vrnjacka Banja, central Serbia.

Mothballed

The Blue Train became something of a hallmark of the former World War II partisan's rule. Archive footage from Radio-Television Serbia (RTS) shows him using it to travel through Yugoslavia promoting his market-socialist vision, city by city.

More pictures of the train's interior features

On his death in May 1980, the train took Tito's coffin across Yugoslavia to Belgrade, passing crowds of mourners who lined the tracks and waited in train stations decorated with his portrait.

Since then, the Blue Train has been kept in an engine shed in Belgrade's Rakovica suburb.

The carriages have never been hauled as a whole train since.

"Many people would like to go back to those times a little, for nostalgic reasons," Vesna Vukasovic of the Belgrade Rail Company told B92.

"And there is a chance for them to see a train which was closed to the public during a period of our history, to see how things were then."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Tito's limos on the block
06 Feb 03 |  Europe


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