Commuters were left doing double takes when the Prince of Wales arrived at Cardiff Central station in the royal train pulled by a steam locomotive.
As people hurried to work or to the shops, Charles began his tour of the Welsh capital by striding down platform three to meet the driver.
The heir to the throne climbed into the cab of Clan Line, which was built the same year the heir to the throne was born – 1948.
Driver Vince Henderson, 58, chatted to the royal and said afterwards: “He was asking odds and sods about the engine and about the coal, and he wished us all merry Christmas.
“The train is 70 years old, it was made the same year he was born and he knew that, he said so.”
On the platform, Charles met a group of young people who have taken part in a Prince’s Trust Cymru programme to equip them with skills for the rail industry.
Phil Jones, director of the Prince’s Trust Cymru, introduced Charles to the group who had completed the Get Into Rail project.
He said after the visit: “Employers can teach them the specific skills needed to do the job but Get Into Rail helps them develop what we call soft skills, motivation, self-confidence, teamwork.”
During his day in Cardiff, the prince will visit the City Hospice to meet patients and families as well as staff and volunteers
Charles will later attend a special celebration performance staged by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, which the prince supports as patron.