Grand Hibernian luxury sleeper does $2m business in three months

Top-end €9,000 train trip around Ireland proves a hit with tourists

Steward Mark O’Doherty at The Belmond Grand Hibernian in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Steward Mark O’Doherty at The Belmond Grand Hibernian in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

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The Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland’s first luxury sleeper train, which began operating after the summer season last year, racked up $2 million (€1.7 million) in revenue for the three months to June, helping to boost figures at its Bermuda-based parent group.

The train made its inaugural journey on August 30th last year, when 40 guests who boarded at Heuston Station in Dublin went on to the Jameson Distillery at Midleton before enjoying a spot of boating on Lough Leane, a walking tour in Galway, falconry at Ashford Castle, among other attractions before encountering technical difficulties on the way to Belfast.

The service ran until the beginning of November and began again in April for a six-month stint.

Results posted by the train’s operator, Bermuda-based Belmond Ltd, this week showed that the Irish revenues drove a $2.7 million, or 14 per cent, increase in group turnover for the second quarter of the year, stripping out the effect of currency fluctuations.

Group revenue for the period came to $21.8 million.

The Irish service’s website showed on Monday afternoon that seven-day tickets, at €8,919 per adult, were sold out for all but one of the seven coming weeks, with the last scheduled departure of the year set for October 20th from Dublin.

The service follows Belmond Ltd’s approach three years ago to Irish Rail to purchase 10 old Mark Three carriages.

The company also operates the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, Eastern and Oriental in South East Asia and Bingham in Peru, among other luxury trains.

Belmond posted $4.9 million of net losses for the second quarter, compared to a profit of $8.4 million for the prior-year quarter.

The slump into a loss was attributed to acquisition-related costs on a resort in the British West Indies, and impairment charges on a river cruise boat in Myanmar and the Belmond Northern Belle train in England, due to weakening demand among tourists.

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