One of Britain’s most famous steam locomotives will pull the luxury Northern Belle train over the Settle-Carlisle line during a trip from Wrexham this April.

Passengers are paying almost £500 to spend the day travelling and dining on the gleaming 1930s Pullman-style train that once formed part of the iconic Orient Express group.

But the main attraction is Tangmere, a Battle of Britain class locomotive named after war hero Douglas Bader’s former RAF base in West Sussex.

For many years the engine hauled crack express trains like the Golden Arrow and the Bournemouth Belle between London and the South Coast at speeds of up to 100mph.

But Tangmere, number 34067, was sent to a scrapyard to be turned into pots and pans when it was withdrawn from service by British Rail in 1965 after travelling nearly 600,000 miles.

Fortunately, it was rescued by railway enthusiasts and now fully restored, it is a favourite sight hauling special charter trains like the Northern Belle, which actor Bill Nighy described on Channel 5 as “the Grand Dame of luxury travel”.

Earlier this year the Northern Belle was voted Britain’s most luxurious train by readers of the prestigious Condè Nast, who rated it better than Canada’s famous Rocky Mountaineer and India’s Maharajah’s Express.


It even has its own resident band and a strolling conjuror who goes from table to table to make the trip even more magical.

A spokesman for the Northern Belle said: “We are delighted to have Tangmere operating again for us this year over the scenic Settle-Carlisle line, one of the most beautiful railway routes in the world.”

The Leader: One of the Northern Belle’s luxurious Pullman-style carriages One of the Northern Belle’s luxurious Pullman-style carriages (Image: Northern Belle)

Red carpets will be laid on Wrexham General platform before the train, initially hauled by a vintage diesel locomotive, departs at 8.35am on Saturday, April 22. It will then pick up more passengers at Chester.

Guests will be handed a sparkling Mimosa cocktail as they board before sitting down to a three-course brunch on the way to picturesque Appleby in Westmorland.

Following a break there to explore the 12th Century castle, they will return to the train for a champagne reception before a slap-up six-course dinner with wine is served as Tangmere hauls the train over the moorland line to Settle.

There will be another steam-hauled trip over the Settle-Carlisle line from Shropshire in September. For more details or to book see