Wednesday, 08 August 2007

Blue Train Colour - Does It Matter If Its Yellow?

For the past 70 years the Blue Train has travelled the breadth of South Africa giving those who have travelled in her memories of five-star luxury that is regarded as one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world.

However this post is not designed to expound the virtues of this magnificent train - to download a brochure to read all about the Blue Train click here; for a PowerPoint slide show click here.

I came across a news article about a passenger, Ian Crowhurst, who lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority because the locomotive which pulled the Blue Train on his journey happened to be orange!

Now I will agree that the iconic image of the Blue Train is spoiled by the sight of an orange locomotive, but to lodge a complaint with the ASA just seems a step too far! Quite correctly the ASA responded by saying that the complaint was illogical as this logic would imply that the Green Truffle restuarant would have to serve green truffles and Blue IQ would have to prove that its consultants have Blue IQ's!

What I do not agree with though is their contention that because the customer is paying for the experience of travelling in the Blue Train, the colour of the locomotive is immaterial. Of course it matters! The Blue Train is an icon of South Africa and the sight of the blue locomotive speeding through the Karoo is part of the South African experience. If I had forked out R10 000 to travel from Cape Town to Pretoria I would want the full experience which includes the iconic blue locomotive.

The Blue Train should be pulled by a blue locomotive - period. When this does not happen, a letter expressing disappointment should be sent to the train operators. If enough travellers write to the operator, to travel magazines and other tourism publications, the negative publicity will begin to ensure that the train operator begins to think again before changing the colour of the locomotive.

For a visual experience of this magnificent train, take a look at this DVD :


Steve Hayes said...

It was probably a one-off thing, where one of the regular Blue Train locomotives needed repair or servicing, and had to be replaced by another.

Arthur said...

Hi Steve! I am sure there was a problem with the blue locomotive - but surely there is more than one?
I still feel that the Blue Train should be just that!
BTW - thanks for being such a regular visitor!

dubby said...

I'm from Canada. I know it may seem to be a small thing but have to agree that the colour is important. If I had just spent a fortune getting to South Africa from Canada I would definitely want my Blue Train Ride to be on a Blue train or I would feel cheated - a black locomotive would be a small disappointment but Yellow? ohh That's major disappointment to say nothing of a major eyesore! How do I explain that to my friends back home? A yellow Blue Train..............Yuk! Ok It isn't earth shattering but why would anyone paint any locomotive yellow of all colours anyway?