NEXT month French Railcruise plans to run its first luxury tour of southwest France using a heavily-refurbished X4500 two-car diesel multiple-unit. The original interior of the SNCF unit has been completely replaced, with luxurious fittings designed by MBD Design to give the train’s 22 passengers ’exceptional conditions of comfort, elegance and safety.’

Individual ivory-coloured leather armchairs from Compin are arranged in pairs in the lounge, with wide, retractable wooden tables between them. Each seat has an electrical socket and a shelving unit, and is angled to give views out of the windows.

The bar and smoking car uses warm colours and ’sophisticated details’ to give a ’cosy atmosphere’. There are seats for 12 people on leather sofas and stools, and the bar staff offer a range of champagne, cognac, cigars and regional food.

Interior fittings were supplied by James Enterprises. The train is equipped with a sound system for commentaries or music, and the lounge has two 42 in plasma screens linked to DVD players. The train is fully air-conditioned, and has separate ladies and gents toilets. Top speed is 120 km/h.

Overnight accommodation will be provided in local hotels along the route. As well as regular four-day trips between Bordeaux and Toulouse the train is available for private charter.

H Next month PeruRail will introduce a luxury dining service on the 914mm gauge Cuzco - Machupicchu route, using four carriages purchased from Singapore and refurbished at PeruRail’s workshops to designs by James Park Associates.