Fascinating images have revealed the interior of former Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito’s luxurious private train, which he used to entertain guests including Queen Elizabeth II and Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor.
The specially designed Blue Train, also known as the ‘Plavi Vox’, was built for Tito in 1959 and used exclusively for his diplomatic travels with political figures and foreign statesmen around the country.
The locomotive was home to more than 60 statesmen and traveled more than 300,000 miles across the country during Tito’s reign from 1945 to 1980.
It was also used to transport Tito’s coffin from the Slovenian capital Ljubljana to his final resting place in Belgrade, Serbia, during his state funeral in May 1980.
Now a series of photos has revealed the well-preserved carriages and the luxurious carriages that once hosted leaders and prominent figures from around the world.
The Blue Train was built in 1959 for Yugoslav ruler Josip Broz Tito and used exclusively for his diplomatic travels with prominent figures from around the world
A series of images from inside the luxury locomotive reveals the well-preserved carriages and luxury carriages that once hosted the former Yugoslav ruler
The luxury train, which consists of ten carriages in the so-called ‘Main train’ and eight carriages in the so-called ‘First train’, is equipped with a study area for guests.
The locomotive got its name after factory workers decided that painting it blue could distinguish it from other trains in Yugoslavia.
A step into the luxury train, which consists of ten carriages in the so-called ‘Main Train’ and eight carriages in the so-called ‘First Train’, reveals an art deco interior consisting of mahogany, pear and walnut, according to the Serbian Railways, the the country’s national railway company.
Coaches on the train also have a President Lounge, a dining room, a large kitchen, a guest lounge, a dining car, a sleeping car, and a power distribution car.
Meanwhile, the parlors and hallways are decorated with intricate marquetry, wool rugs, velvet and silk.
A A Zodiac-themed bar, guest apartment salon and select bathrooms are also available on the time capsule train.
The locomotive, which is now open to the public and serves as a museum, got its name after factory workers decided that painting it blue would distinguish it from other trains in Yugoslavia, which were generally painted green.
During his reign, Tito welcomed a number of famous guests on board his train, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, French President François Mitterrand, Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat, former President of France Charles de Gaulle and former Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.
Actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren were also invited aboard the luxury train while visiting the country.
According to the travel agency Explore Montenegro, the train was hailed by the Yugoslavs as ‘one of the most luxurious’ in the world when it got on the rails.
The train was also used to transport Tito’s coffin across Yugoslavia to his final resting place in Belgrade, Serbia, after his death in May 1980. Pictured: a portrait of Josip Broz Tito and his wife Jovanka on the Blue Train
The carriages in the Blue Train are equipped with a bar (left), a television set (right), an apartment lounge for guests and a sleeping car
The train also features a spacious dining room (shown), guest lounge, dining car, large kitchen for staff and guests
Photos from inside the luxury train, which was used to transport Tito on his travels around the country, reveal an Art Deco interior made of mahogany, pear and walnut wood.
The train also features a number of stylish bathroom units once used by Tito and his guests on their travels around the country.
Josip Broz Tito, commonly known as Tito, was born in 1892 in the village of Kumrovec, which is now in Croatia.
After leaving school, Tito worked on his parents’ family farm before leaving the village to travel south to Sisak, where his cousin Jurica Broz was serving in the army.
Tito’s cousin helped him get a job in a restaurant, but Tito soon grew tired of this and decided to enroll in a three-year internship with a Czech locksmith, Nikola Karas.
At the age of 18, Tito took part in his first workers’ protest and also joined the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Slavonia – which was founded in Budapest in 1890.
In May 1913, Tito was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian army and served in the 25th Croatian Home Guard.
However, in 1915, after the outbreak of World War I, he was sent to the Russian front, where he was captured by the Russians and sent to a POW camp – where he soon converted to Bolshevism and was fluent in Russian.
In 1917 Tito took part in some of the events of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Civil War before returning to Croatia in 1920.
He joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) and quickly climbed the ranks of the CPY before taking the name Tito, a pseudonym he used in underground party work.
After the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe, Tito organized what was described as ‘the most effective partisan movement against Nazi occupation in Europe’ and was instrumental in helping Jewish people flee the Nazi war.
But he became increasingly disillusioned with the USSR over the years, leading to a split with the ruler of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, who continued to send assassins after Tito – with no fewer than 22 assassination attempts on Tito’s life after the Second World War.
Tito eventually wrote a letter to Stalin saying, “Don’t send any more people to kill me. We’ve already captured five, one with a bomb and another with a rifle. If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow and don’t have to send a second. ‘
During his reign, Tito welcomed a number of famous guests on board his train, including Queen Elizabeth II. Pictured: Queen Elizabeth II departing the ‘The Blue Train’ in 1972 during her visit to Yugoslavia
Also among his guests was the American actress Elizabeth Taylor (photo of a meeting with President Josip Broz Tito with her husband Richard Burton at his summer residence on the island of Brioni, Yugoslavia in 1971)
Pictured: Former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (left), Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito (center) and Egyptian President Gamal Nasser (right)
In 1953 Tito was elected president of Yugoslavia and was re-elected several times until 1963.
During his reign, Tito was considered authoritarian in some quarters and widely praised for developing a unique kind of socialism in his beloved Yugoslavia.
He modeled his country after the Soviet Union, but after falling out with Stalin, he charted an independent course for the country.
Yugoslavia became much more open than its communist neighbors, such as allowing visitors to travel freely westward, and was seen by many as a paradise on earth.
After his death in 1980, the state began to fall apart as the republics began seeking more powers for themselves and the former federation fell apart amid bloody fighting.