‘Brighton Belle’ set for September main line tests

The 5BEL Trust – which has reached an advanced state of restoring a four-car ‘Brighton Belle’ luxury Pullman EMU – is aiming for its first test runs on the national network in early autumn – with its first public trains running next Easter.

On March 27, a group of around 40 supporters of the project were given guided tours of the four coaches currently under restoration at the premises of engineers W H Davis at Shirebrook in Derbyshire.

‘Brighton Belle’ motor car No. 88 is among four coaches nearing completion at the W H Davis workshop in Shirebrook. ROBIN JONES

The ground-breaking project involves fitting the bodies of the recovered original ‘Brighton Belle’ coaches on to underframes acquired from 4CIG EMUs in order to comply with modern running standards. Ironically, it was the 4CIGs that replaced the ‘Brighton Belle’ when it was taken out of service in 1972 after 40 years.

In its day, the ‘Brighton Belle’ was the most modern, iconic, Art Deco Pullman train. The 5BEL Trust is leaving no stone unturned in re-creating the opulence of its interior, right down to the walnut wooden panelling and period table lamps.

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