Posh train on track for Birmingham

But look smart to catch Britain’s poshest train.

Champagne-sipping passengers are being urged to look smart when Britain’s poshest train sets out from Birmingham next Saturday (June 8th) for a steam-hauled trip over the picturesque Settle-Carlisle line.

For jeans and trainers are discouaraged 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 Birmingham International at 7.25am.

They will then tuck into a three-course brunch while more passengers are picked up at Wolverhampton, 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 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 next Saturday’s train is sold out, the Northern Belle will be back in the city on July 27th and October 19th for two more steam-hauled trips over the same route.

There will also be an excursion to Weymouth, Dorset, and Torquay, Devon, in August, followed by a slap-up Christmas Lunch trip in December.

Fares on the Northern Belle start at £295. For more details and to book, see here.