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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 24 September, 2018
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Ireland's answer to the Orient Express train lost almost half a million euro

However, the Belmond Grand Hibernian did not have a full operational season last year.

Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE LUXURY BELMOND Grand Hibernian Irish train lost almost half a million euro in its first operating period, according to new figures.

Belmond, the same company that operates the famous Orient Express, announced in 2014 that it was planning to launch an Irish sleeper train.

The service can accommodate 40 passengers on trips around the North and Republic of Ireland. Journeys last between two and six nights.

The train ran between August and October 2016 before breaking for the winter.

It was only launched in August, so it did not have a full operational season last year.

It will have a full operational season in 2017, running from the end of April to the start of October.

A two-night trip for an adult costs about €3,000, while a six-night trip is in the region of €7,000.

Losses

Belmond operates high-end hotels, restaurant, trains and river cruise properties in almost two dozen countries.

Announcing its latest set of annual results, the company said that its Irish train had losses before exceptions of $400,000 (€380,000).

90428060_90428060 The Belmond Grand Hibernian train Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“Belmond Grand Hibernian, the company’s new Irish train which commenced operations in August 2016, recorded a $0.4 million EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) loss largely as a result of seasonality,” it said.

“The train concluded its 2016 operating season in mid-October for what will be its annual winter closure period. The train is expected to commence its 2017 operating season in April.”

As well as en-suite accommodation, the Belmond Grand Hibernian includes two restaurant cars and an observation bar car.

Routes

The experience is intended to function as a type of ‘land cruise’, with the train stopping at destinations around the country and allowing guests to take part in organised activities or go explore by themselves.

Three different options are on the table for two, four and six nights.

The shortest sees the train visit Belfast from Dublin before going to Waterford, while the four nighter travels from Dublin to Cork, Killarney, Galway and Westport. The six-night option is a combination of the two .

90428050_90428050 The tea rooms on board the train Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Those using the Grand Hibernian Irish get a 24-hour steward service and ‘traditional entertainment’ while on board, as well as visits to Irish tourist sites such as the Titanic Experience and the House of Waterford Crystal.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian’s haulage services and Dublin depot are provided by Irish Rail. The train broke down on its first weekend in service due to a technical fault.

Several of the nights for the new 2017 season are already sold out.

Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Fora.ie

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