Northern Belle: The luxury train that's Britain's answer to the Orient Express is coming to Yorkshire

A luxury train that evokes the golden age of rail travel is visiting Yorkshire for special excursions this summer.

Passengers on the Northern Belle
Passengers on the Northern Belle

The Northern Belle is named after the 1930s 'Belle' services that were associated with elegance and glamour and ran on routes along the south coast.

It's been called Britain's answer to the Orient Express and will call at several Yorkshire stations this summer as part of its programme of heritage journeys.

The train, which consists of seven immaculately restored Pullman dining coaches hauled by a vintage diesel locomotive, operates excursions to major events such as Chelsea Flower Show and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Passengers on the Northern Belle

Advertising tycoon David Pitts, from Thurstonland near Wakefield, bought the train in 2017 and was keen to add his home city to its itinerary.

Around 300 passengers can enjoy silver service dining and champagne on board the Belle. There's even an on-board jazz band, and celebrity chefs Raymond Blanc and James Martin have both cooked on the train in the past.

The 1930s Pullman carriages are hauled by a heritage diesel locomotive

Liveried stewards serve guests and meal options range from champagne receptions to three-course brunches and five-course dinners with wine and cocktails.

This summer there are excursions to Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle (from Wakefield Kirkgate and Huddersfield), Edinburgh (from Wakefield Kirkgate and York), Alnwick Castle (from Sheffield and Doncaster), London (from Sheffield and Doncaster), an afternoon tea round trip (from York, Leeds and Harrogate) and a Brief Encounter-themed trip to Carnforth (from Leeds and Hull).

The carriages are based on those used by the Brighton Belle and Bournemouth Belle - the first all-Pullman electric trains, which ran from London to the south coast resorts in the 1930s.

West Coast Railways, a heritage company, maintain the Northern Belle at their depot in Carnforth.

Passengers enjoy gourmet silver-service dining aboard the train

David said:-

“This is an absolutely beautiful train. The Northern Belle won’t only take people to places like Stratford and Edinburgh, it will also transport them back to the golden days of rail travel.

“It is essentially a fine dining restaurant on rails, with nothing too good for our pampered passengers. These promise to be wonderful summer days out.”

Each of the train’s Pullman carriages, which all feature exquisite marquetry, murals, mosaics and embroidery, bears the name of a British castle or stately home.

On-board chef Matthew Green, from Barnsley, prepares the gourmet food, which is served on the finest china using locally-sourced Yorkshire ingredients.

But a seat on board doesn't come cheap - tickets start from £205.