If you’re at all familiar with award-winning filmmaker Wes Anderson’s work, you likely know he’s renowned for his unique yet stunning aesthetics, keen attention to detail, and highly satisfying colour palettes. You probably also know he has a special affinity for train travel, and now you can take a trip into Anderson’s world by riding in a vintage train car designed by none other than the visionary himself.
Anderson was recently tasked with reimagining a vintage train carriage on the British Pullman, a luxurious Belmond train that takes travellers on a scenic trip through the British countryside. The newly-designed Cygnus carriage features a “careful balance” between the historical preservation of the original carriage and Anderson’s distinctive style, giving riders a chance to see the world through his eyes.
“I have often had the chance to invent train compartments and carriages in my movies,” says Anderson in a press release. “So I was very eager to make something new while also participating in the process of preservation which accompanies all the classic Belmond train projects. They are keeping something special alive. An endangered species of travel which is nevertheless very suited to our time.”
The Cygnus carriage, built in the 1950s, is no stranger to the spotlight. The train car was featured in the 1972 film Agatha, and over the years it has transported everyone from royalty to statesmen.
Now redesigned for a new century, the carriage features a number of Anderson’s signature style elements, including symmetrical marquetry, bold rectilinear shapes, and complimentary colours. Stepping onto the train — which operates out of London Victoria station — quite literally feels like walking into The Darjeeling Limited or The Grand Budapest Hotel thanks to pastel-pink ceilings, green upholstery, and vintage art-deco details preserved from the original carriage.
Since the train car was originally named after the Greek god of balance, who is often personified as a swan, riders will also find subtle swan details on everything from the woodwork to the glassware.
Travelers interested in taking a daytrip on Anderson’s latest creative project can book a table in the main carriage from 400 GBP per person and, depending on the selected journey, enjoy a multi-course gourmet meal or afternoon tea. Those interested in a more secluded, luxurious experience can also reserve a private coupé, which seats up to four guests, from 1,800 GBP (around $3,100 CAD). This option comes with unlimited Veuve Clicquot champagne, upgraded food and wine selections, tableware and glassware chosen by Anderson himself, and a guided tour through this historic, one-of-a-kind train. All aboard!