Luxury Carnforth train voted best in Britain and among world’s top 10

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A luxury Carnforth-based train has been voted the best in Britain and one of the world’s Top 10 by readers of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveller magazine.

They gave the 1930s Pullman-style Northern Belle – once part of the ironic Orient Express group – an 86.79 per cent satisfaction rating.

That score put it in ninth place, beating other famous trains like Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer, while Japan’s Seven Stars in Kyushi – where tickets cost a staggering $5,000 each – clinched the top spot.

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Delighted Northern Belle owner David Pitts praised the train’s on-board crew for their “excellent work in keeping passengers happy”.

The Northern Belle.The Northern Belle.
The Northern Belle.

But he said much of the credit went to the “unsung heroes” in the maintenance department at West Coast Railway’s Carnforth depot.

They had worked through the difficult days of the Covid pandemic to keep the train in “tip-top condition”.

Mr Pitts said: “With the train off the rails, we invested heavily in an ambitious maintenance programme.

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“This included the construction of a new kitchen car to make things easier for our onboard chefs.

“Investing around £2million at a time when the company was losing money was a brave move. But it clearly paid off.”

The CN Traveller magazine praised the Northern Belle’s onboard dining, saying: “It’s all about the food – and the scenery, but mostly about the food – on this lovingly-restored train which zig-zags its way across the countryside.

“The meal services are exquisite, offering fine dining crafted mostly from UK suppliers so you can enjoy classic British fare as the heaths, meadows and dales roll on by.”

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The Northern Belle featured on Channel 5’s “The World Most Scenic Railway Journeys” programme twice last year with actor Bill Nighy describing it as “the Grand Dame of Luxury Travel”.

Among the journeys coming up are a special Fireworks Dinner from Preston, Liverpool and Manchester on November 5, a trip to Cardiff from Manchester on November 19 and one to Edinburgh from Manchester, Bolton and Preston on November 26.

There are also several slap-up Christmas lunch trips during December.

For more details, go online at