ONE of Britain’s most luxurious main line fine dining trains is to be based on the Severn Valley Railway.
Under a new partnership agreement, the Belmond Northern Belle, sister to the Belmond British Pullman, will make extensive use of the main line connection at Kidderminster and the fine dining train will complement services run on the railway.
Since it was introduced in 2000, the train has become famous for its luxurious, hand-crafted 1930s-era interiors and luxury dining experiences.
The rake of 11 operational carriages – each named after great British castles or stately homes, as well as two spare vehicles – will be housed on carriage siding No. 1 at Kidderminster, where a small on-site compound will provide space for Belmond Northern Belle containers and offer office accommodation for its staff.
A typical working day will see the luxury set moved into a platform for loading after SVR daily services end.
An hour before departure to the national network, Direct Rail Services locomotives will be attached. Following its main line trip and return to Kidderminster, the train will enter the heritage railway mainly late at night and be stabled back on carriage siding No. 1 before SVR services restart in the morning.
The SVR will provide signalmen, drivers and shunters for the Belmond Northern Belle operation, while cleaning and maintenance provision is currently under discussion.
SVR general manager Nick Ralls said: “This partnership will provide many opportunities for the railway and Belmond Northern Belle, and, importantly for the SVR, another income stream that will support further investment in the railway.”
➜ To book a journey aboard Belmond Northern Belle visit Belmond.com or call 0845 077 2222.
Read more News in Issue 226 of HR – out now!Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.