Express & Star

Champers and red carpet ready for Britain's 'poshest train' arrival at Wolverhampton

Champagne-sipping passengers are being urged to look smart when Britain’s poshest train departs from Wolverhampton on Saturday for a steam-hauled trip over the picturesque Settle-Carlisle line.

Letting off steam, the historic locomotive Tangmere hauls the Northern Belle train. Photo: Northern Belle

Jeans and trainers are discouraged aboard the gleaming umber-and-cream 1930s Pullman-style Northern Belle, which once formed part of the iconic Orient Express set-up.

Owner, David Pitts, likes passengers to dress up for the occasion. He explained: "Of course, we are not going to turn some gentleman away just because he’s not wearing a tie or his shoes aren’t buffed and polished.

"But we do have standards and we do appreciate it when our guests take the time and trouble to dress up for the occasion. It makes it that much more special for everybody."

Passengers will board the Northern Belle over a red carpet before on the station platform being handed their first glass of champagne as the train pulls out of Wolverhampton at 8.05am. They will then tuck into a three-course brunch while more passengers are picked up at Stafford and Crewe.

For the first part of the journey, the train will be pulled by a heritage diesel engine before a giant steam locomotive called Tangmere, which used to haul express trains from London to the South Coast, takes over at Carnforth.

Then after a short stop to explore Carlisle, a six-course dinner with wine will be served during the journey through the Yorkshire Dales to Settle.

The train even has its own resident band and a conjuror who wanders through the carriages to add an extra touch of magic to the occasion.

The same trip featured on Channel 5’s The World’s Greatest Railway Journeys programme last year when narrator Bill Nighy described the Northern Belle as “the Grand Dame of luxury travel”. On that occasion, the train was pulled by a crimson locomotive called Princess Elizabeth, which was built at Crewe and named after the late queen while she was still a young schoolgirl.

Although the train is sold out, the Northern Belle will be back in Wolverhampton on July 27 and October 19 for two more steam-hauled trips over the same route.

There will also be several trips from the Midlands, including an excursion to Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot later this month and a slap-up Christmas lunch trip in December.

For more details and to book, see

By Malcolm Tattersall - Contributor

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.