Train passengers are able enjoy the contrasts of modern 125-mph tilting trains and vintage steam locomotives on the busy West Coast Main Line this summer.
For the first time in over 40 years Statesman Rail is operating a regular timetabled steam-hauled train, departing from stations in Lancashire and offering a unique 260 mile return day trip over the world famous Settle and Carlisle line. Virgin Trains’ iconic Pendolino and Super Voyager tilting trains will provide connections into the steam-hauled special train at both Lancaster and Preston.
Passengers are able to see how effortlessly modern trains tackle gradients on the route, while the steam-hauled train will demonstrate how demanding it was for the driver and fireman to keep their train moving.
The steam-hauled train, will travel from Lancaster and Preston to Appleby and Carlisle via the scenic Settle and Carlisle railway, and operates every Wednesday from 29 July to 9 September. Due to demand an additional train on Wednesday 23 September has been added to the timetable.
Virgin’s Pendolino trains are fully air-conditioned and have power points to enable passengers to charge mobile phones and laptops. Most trains are Wi-Fi enabled and have enhanced mobile phone reception. Alternatively, if you’d prefer some quiet time there is a quiet coach on all trains. The Pendolino trains are used on most services on the London-Glasgow route.
The Super Voyager diesel trains are also fully air-conditioned, have power points for charging mobile phones, laptops and personal entertainment systems, as well as a quiet coach on all trains. The Super Voyager trains are used on the Birmingham-Glasgow/Edinburgh route and some London-Lancaster trains.
Connections from Virgin’s Pendolino or Super Voyager trains will be available at Preston (from Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Crewe or Warrington Bank Quay) or at Lancaster (from Glasgow Central and Carlisle). Why not take a short break, and include a steam train ride as part of your itinerary? For details of Lake District accommodation contact Cumbria Tourism on 01539 822222 or visit http://www.golakes.co.uk/.
Virgin Trains offers advance fares, which could be as little as £4.50 single between Birmingham and Preston, offering affordable connections into the special steam train. For full details of fares and availability visithttp://www.virgintrains.com/. Fares on the steam special from Lancaster start at £56.05 Standard; £84.55 First Class and £132.05 for Premier Dining.
Virgin Trains Communications Manager Steven Knight said: “The romance of the railways has never gone away. This is a great opportunity to take a peek back into the railways of yesteryear while enjoying the railways of the 21st Century. There is something just as romantic with the sleek lines of a Virgin Pendolino as it whizzes through the countryside at 125mph as there is with the smoke trails left by a steam locomotive.”
The Fellsman steam train will leave from Lancaster and then pick up passengers at Preston, Bamber Bridge, Blackburn and Clitheroe and will be hauled throughout by steam giants from the past including the recently rebuilt LMS Royal Scot class 46115 ‘Scots Guardsman’ or LMS Jubilee class 5690 ‘Leander’.
Seated in carriages from the 195’s & 1960s, passengers will be able to hear and feel the engines working hard to pull the heavy train up the steep gradients of the spectacular Settle and Carlisle line and over the impressive 24-arch viaduct at Ribblehead. Passing through unsurpassed vistas of the three peaks, then on to the summit of the line at Ais Gill and on through the stunning Yorkshire Dales.
Passengers have the opportunity to leave the train at the pretty Westmorland market town of Appleby for a four-hour break, or, carry on through the pretty Eden Valley to the border city of Carlisle for a two-hour break while the engine takes on coal and is serviced ready for the return journey. There will be a chance for photographs as the engine stops for water and perhaps have a chat to the driver and fireman who will explain the workings of the engine and show children the roaring coal fire.
“The Fellsman” is aimed primarily at the family market (with prices to match) and is an unashamedly nostalgic glimpse back to the glory days of Britain’s heritage with the opportunity to spend a unique and memorable day out away from motorway traffic jams and the hustle and bustle of modern daily life.
Reserved seating is available in Standard or First Class with a buffet car open throughout the journey for beverages and light refreshments. For anyone wishing to live it up a little there is the opportunity to enjoy a freshly cooked full English breakfast and three course dinner in the opulence of Premier class. Freshly prepared on board by chefs in the kitchen car and silver served by liveried stewards, this is certainly the way to travel while enjoying the spectacular passing scenery.
Reservations may be made through ‘Statesman Rail’ on 0845 310 2458 and all website bookingshttp://www.statesmanrail.com/ will benefit from a 5% discount over the normal fares. There is also a family of 4 ticket available for any combination of adults and children offering even further savings.
Tickets for connecting Virgin services can be booked online at http://www.virgintrains.com/ or bought at local stations.
Operations Director Peter Watkinson says “We are pleased to introduce this very special train, with prices starting at an equivalent of just 17p per mile. Young and old alike can enjoy a travel experience they thought had vanished forever with a steam-hauled journey over what is regarded by many as one of the great railway journeys in the world – the famous Settle to Carlisle line. “
Notes to Editors
Making the connections
Preston (steam service departs 08:35, arriving back at 20:10)
Connections available on Virgin Trains services from Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Crewe and Warrington Bank Quay.
Lancaster (steam service departs 08:05, arriving back 21:40)
Connections available on Virgin Trains services from Glasgow Central and Carlisle.
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