Press release -

"Train of Hope" promises fantastic day out - for a great cause.

Fancy sipping a glass of champers while travelling on a magnificent 1950s steam train? Or indulging in a five star, five course meal while some of the world’s most spectacular scenery passes you by?

This is the vision of the team of Manchester-based Virgin Trains’ drivers who came up with the idea of organising an event that would combine a passion for the railways with a desire to make a difference for a very worthwhile cause.

The steam-hauled Train of Hope will run on 1 October 2011 from Crewe to Carlisle over the Cumbrian fells and return on the scenic Settle and Carlisle line. The historical train is formed of luxurious first class coaches and hauled by Scots Guardsman, a steam locomotive built in 1927. All money raised by the event will go to Virgin Trains’ charity partner CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.

Steam train journeys are always popular but this one really has the x-factor. The train will be waved off at Crewe at 09:00 by a brass band and pop impresario and railway enthusiast Pete Waterman, and met in Carlisle by a piper and the Mayor and Mayoress of Carlisle.

Whilst onboard, passengers will be invited to indulge in a full English breakfast on the outward journey and a five course dinner, including complimentary wines and refreshments, on the return. Ticket holders travelling on the Train of Hope will be able to travel First Class by Virgin Trains to and from Crewe on the day at no extra cost.

A selection of fantastic prizes will be raffled on the train exclusively for Train of Hope customers. These include:

Two premier dining tickets with the Rail Touring Company
Balloon flights for two
Limited edition prints
Worth Valley Railways family tickets
One night’s stay at Crewe Hall, including breakfast, evening meal and two spa treatments
Foxfield Railway Footplate Drivers days
Two night’s stay in London, including a show and First Class travel with Virgin Trains
Twelve month’s subscription to Railway Magazine
Llangollen Railways Family ticket
Tesco voucher
House of Commons bottle of whiskey and a guided tour of the House of Commons.

Train of Hope tickets are available for £179 for adults, which includes breakfast, a five course dinner with complimentary wine and return Virgin Trains First Class tickets to and from Crewe on the day. The cost for children is £119.

While the rail tour and on-train auction is the headline event, the organising team is running a raffle and auctioning items on eBay. These include exclusive items offered by the railway industry such as a day on highly realistic driver simulators, two Standard Class tickets to New York and an overnight stay for two at Lucknam Park Spa and Hotel in Bath.

Another very special item, available exclusively to the appeal, is a commissioned painting by John Cowley, who is a member of the Guild of Railway Artists. The scene, set in the Second World War, depicts children being evacuated waiting to board their train at Crewe station. Both the original oil painting and a series of signed limited edition prints will be sold to raise funds for CLIC Sargent.
Details on booking arrangements as well as information on buying raffle tickets are available at: For information about the event, contact John Young or call: 07796 350 559

For more information on CLIC Sargent go to:

More information about the event
The event is organised by five Manchester-based Virgin Trains drivers.
The train departs Crewe at 09:00, Warrington Bank Quay 0930, Wigan North West 09:50, Preston 10:10 and arrives in Carlisle at 12:45. Returns Carlisle 14:50, Wigan North West 19:30, Warrington Bank Quay 19:50 and Crewe 20:30.
The train will be waved off by Pete Waterman and the championship winning Co-op band.
The Train Operating Company is West Coast Railways.
The steam locomotive is The Scots Guardsman 46115.
The train comprises eight first class coaches and two kitchen cars plus a support coach with a Class 47 locomotive.
First Class dining, including Buck Fizz, a full English breakfast and a five course meal.
Plane with banner to follow the train.
Mayor and Mayoress of Carlisle to meet the train.
Special onboard raffle.
John Cowley commissioned oil painting.
First Class travel to and from Crewe on the day of the tour courtesy of Virgin Trains.
All funds go to CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, which provides clinical, practical and emotional support to families.

More information about CLIC Sargent
For more information about CLIC Sargent contact Kat Turton, Media and PR Manager, on: 0117 314 8620 or Outside office hours please call: 08448 481189.

CLIC Sargent is Virgin Trains’ first official charity. The partnership has raised more than £280,000 since 2009 and Virgin Trains is continuing to support CLIC Sargent until 2012. All money raised through the Train of Hope fundraiser will help the charity to support families affected by childhood cancer across the UK.

About childhood cancer
Every day 10 children and young people are told they have cancer, and diagnosis usually comes as a shock. Treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years. Although survival rates are over 70%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people. It provides clinical, practical and emotional support for young cancer patients and their families, from diagnosis onwards. For more information visit

Note to sub editors
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.


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