IRELAND: Luxury hotel and cruise operator Belmond is to launch its seventh train on August 30, having taken delivery of 10 former Iarnród Éireann MkIII coaches which have been refurbished to form a ‘country house on wheels’ which will offer two, four and six-night tours.

The refurbishment was undertaken in Northern Ireland by hotel and cruise ship fit-out specialist Mivan under a £2·5m contract. Mivan said 60 craftspeople and 35 000 person-hours had been dedicated to ‘transforming’ the coaches into elegant cars with interiors ‘reflecting Dublin’s Georgian architecture and the Irish countryside’. Interior design was undertaken by James Park Associates. Each vehicle is named after a county, with its own colour scheme and carpets incorporating that county’s tartan.

The contract covered five sleeping cars providing ensuite accommodation for a total of 40 guests, as well as two restaurant/pantry cars, one observation car, a crew car and a generator car. Iarnród Éireann will haul the Belmond Grand Hibernian trains and provide depot facilities in Dublin.

‘We are delighted to have completed this prestigious project for Belmond, an iconic name in rail travel, and to demonstrate yet again the superb skills offered by Northern Ireland trade and craft workers’, said Mivan CEO Neil Ward. ‘Mivan, like Belmond, is a strong performer on the global stage and has a work force which has grown to 150 since 2014. We aim to employ 200 skilled staff by the end of 2017 and to prove, through projects like this, that we can deliver superlative results.’