Fascinating images have revealed the interior of former Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito’s private luxury train which he used to entertain guests including Queen Elizabeth II and Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor.
The custom-designed Blue Train, also known as the ‘Plavi Voz’, was built for communist revolutionary Tito in 1959 and was used exclusively for his diplomatic travels with political figures and foreign statesmen across the country and beyond.
The locomotive was used by more than 60 statesmen during its life and travelled more than 300,000 miles across the country during Tito’s rule from 1945 to 1980.
It was also used to transport Tito’s coffin from Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana to his final resting place in Belgrade, Serbia, during his state funeral in May 1980.
Now, a series of photographs have revealed the well-preserved carriages and the luxurious coaches that were once visited by leaders and prominent figures from across the world.
The Blue Train was built for the Yugoslavian ruler Josip Broz Tito in 1959 and was used exclusively for his diplomatic travels with prominent figures from across the world
A series of images from inside the luxury locomotive reveal the the well-preserved carriages and the luxurious coaches that once played host to the former Yugoslavian ruler
The luxury train, which consists of ten coaches in the so-called ‘Main train’ and eight coaches in the so-called ‘First train’, comes with bedrooms that feature a desk and bookshelf
The locomotive was given its name after factory workers decided that painting it blue would allow it to be set apart from other trains in Yugoslavia
A step inside the luxury train, which consists of ten coaches in the so-called ‘Main train’ and eight coaches in the so-called ‘First train’, reveals an art deco interior that consists of mahogany, pear and walnut wood.
Carriages inside the train also feature a President Lounge, dining room, main kitchen, lounge for guests, dining-car, a sleeping coach, mid-century technology and an energy distribution wagon.
Meanwhile the saloons and hallways are decked out with intricate marquetry, wool carpets, velvet and silk.
A Zodiac-themed bar, apartment salon for guests, and a number of bathrooms are also available inside the time capsule train.
The locomotive, which is now open to the public and serves as a museum, was given its name after factory workers during the 1950s decided that painting it blue would enable it to be set apart from other trains in Yugoslavia – which were generally painted green.
During his rule, Tito welcomed a number of famous guests onboard 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 the former Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie.
Actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren were also invited onboard the luxury train during their visits to the country.
According to the travel firm Explore Montenegro, the train was hailed by Yugoslavs ‘as one of the most luxurious’ in the world when it took to 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 inside the Blue Train
The coaches inside the Blue Train feature a stylish bar (left), a TV set (right) an apartment salon for guests, and a sleeping coach
The train also features a spacious dining room (pictured), a lounge for guests, a dining-car, and a main kitchen for staff and guests
Photographs from inside the luxury train, which was used to transport Tito on his journeys through the country, reveal an art deco interior that consists of mahogany, pear and walnut wood
The train also features a number of stylish bathroom units which were once used by Tito and his guests during the travels through the country
The time capsule train now serves as a museum and will occasionally taking travellers to the coastal town of Bar, in Montenegro’s main port
Josip Broz Tito, who was commonly known by many as Tito, was born in the village of Kumrovec, which now lies in Croatia, in 1892.
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 acquire a job in a restaurant but Tito soon grew tired of this and decided to enrol in a three-year apprenticeship with the Czech locksmith, Nikola Karas, at the age of 15.
At the age of 18, Tito participated in his first labour protest and also joined the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Slavonia – which was founded in Budapest in 1890.
In May 1913, Tito was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army and served with the 25th Croatian Home Guard before going on to become the youngest sergeant major in the army by 1914.
However in 1915, following the outbreak of First World War, he was sent to the invade Serbia and was captured by the Russians and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp – where he soon converted to Bolshevism and learnt fluent Russian.
In 1917, Tito participated in some of the events of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Civil War before returning to Croatia in 1920.
He went on to join the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) before the Yugoslav government immediately banned all communist activities and forced the party to be driven underground.
Later in 1923, Tito once again made contact with the now underground CPY and rapidly rose in the ranks, taking on the role of party functionary and then later organisational secretary.
But his success at reviving the CPY was cut short when he was arrested in August 1928 for his illegal communist activities, which included allegations that police had found bombs in his apartment, and sentenced to five years in jail.
In 1934, following his release from jail, Tito went to the USSR to work with Comintern before taking on the role secretary-general of the CPY by 1939.
Following the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe, Tito organised what was described as ‘the most effective partisan movement against Nazi occupation in Europe’ and became instrumental in helping Jewish people flee the Nazi war.
However he became increasingly disillusioned with the USSR which led to a split in 1948 with the ruler of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin – who soon began sending assassins to Tito.
During his rule Tito welcomed a number of famous guests onboard 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 (pictured meeting President Josip Broz Tito with her husband Richard Burton at his summer residence on Brioni island, Yugoslavia in 1971)
Pictured: Former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (left), Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito (centre), and Egyptian President Gamal Nasser (right)
When the Russian leader died, on March 5 in 1953, a letter was found in his office that had been written by Tito.
Tito’s letter read: ‘Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.’
In 1953, Tito was elected Yugoslav president and was repeatedly re-elected into the role until 1963.
During his rule, Tito, who initially modelled his country on the Soviet Union, was widely praised for developing a unique brand of socialism in Yugoslavia and changing it beyond recognition.
He created a society that was more open than that of its communist neighbours and allowed citizens to freely travel to the west, either to work or to take holidays.
Following his death in 1980, the state began to fall apart and dissent began to grow as republics began to seek greater powers for themselves.