Luxury seaside trip on Carnforth train goes ahead despite strikes

Staff on the Carnforth-based Northern Belle – described by Bill Nighy as “the Grand Duchess of luxury train travel” – have been praised for preventing a slap-up trip to the seaside being shunted into the sidings.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 2:59 pm

More than 200 passengers who had paid nearly £400 to travel to Scarborough this Friday faced disappointment after thousands of rail workers voted to strike on Thursday and Saturday.

For it looked like it would be impossible to get the 1930s Pullman-style train and its crew from Carnforth to the starting point in Coventry ready for the breakfast time start.

But after Network Rail planners worked out a special route for the Belle, the 30 staff agreed to travel by coach, minibus, car and taxi and stay overnight in hotels so the trip could go ahead.

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The Northern Belle.

Grateful boss David Pitts said: “They have been terrific – they didn’t just go the extra mile, they went the extra 500 miles to Coventry, Scarborough, back to Coventry and then home again.

“We are very proud of them and the way they were determined not to let our passengers down.”

However, a steam-hauled journey by the Northern Belle over the spectacular Settle-Carlisle line on Saturday has had to be cancelled because of the strike.

Mr Pitts said: “It is a shame that we have had to call off the trip especially after all those we had to cancel during the Covid pandemic.

“But with the rail network virtually closing down on Sunday we really had no choice.”