Business Irish

Friday 24 November 2017

€9,000 train tickets for Irish luxury sightseeing tour going fast

Waiter Mark O’Doherty ready to welcome passengers aboard the Belmond Grand Hibernian train at Heuston Station in Dublin
Waiter Mark O’Doherty ready to welcome passengers aboard the Belmond Grand Hibernian train at Heuston Station in Dublin
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The luxury Belmond Grand Hibernian Irish sightseeing train is set for a bumper summer, with many of its €9,000 tickets already selling out.

The €11m sleeper train - operated by the same company that whisks passengers through mainland Europe on the Orient Express - was launched last August and resumes its 2017 schedule next month.

Belmond reported this week that the Grand Hibernian generated revenues of $1.2m (€1.1m) in its first few weeks of operations last year, but made a loss of $400,000 (€797,000). The service only operates between August and October, and takes a winter hiatus.

It broke down on its first trip last year. But that hasn't deterred wealthy travellers from snapping up tickets.

Belmond's website shows that a number of trips for its seven-day 'Grand Tour of Ireland' are already sold out for some dates in May and September. Tickets on the May trips cost up to €8,900 per person. The 252m train - the longest in Ireland - carries 40 passengers.

The train combines passengers taking seven and five-day journeys. Five-day trips cost up to €6,260 per person. Those trips are also selling out fast. It means the train is probably raking in somewhere in the region of €300,000 a week at times when it's fully booked.

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