Britain's poshest train arrives in Norwich for Christmas trip
- Credit: Archant
Passengers stepped into Christmas onboard Britain's poshest train as it arrived at Norwich Station on Wednesday morning, before embarking on a festive journey across the countryside.
The Northern Belle, hauled by a historic steam or diesel locomotive on each trip, nods to 1930s rail travel and was once part of the iconic Orient Express group, with Pullman carriages named after castles and stately homes.
It picked up 178 passengers at Norwich Station and then set out on a five-hour round trip, collecting an extra 49 passengers at Ipswich Station.
Passenger Barbara Fielden, 86, from Norwich, who came with her niece, said: "We've been on the Northern Belle before on some of its other day trips as well as longer distance and we went up to Scotland.
"It is a beautiful train and with the situation how it is at the moment, anything will cheer us up and it seemed like a lovely idea as we know it is a lovely train and the food is always excellent."
The luxury train features plush seating and dining tables and groups were treated to a champagne reception and a seven-course festive lunch, including a cheeseboard with biscuits and chutneys and a bottle of wine.
A conjuror and musicians added a touch of Christmas magic and tickets cost £289pp, so expectations were high.
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Derek Wortley, 70, from Norwich, who came with wife Sandra, said: "We went on it a few years ago from Nottingham to Bath and we have been in lockdown all this time and have saved a couple of quid so thought we'd come."
Due to coronavirus, guests needed to wear masks at the station and when moving around the train.
Paul Heathcote, train manager, said: "It is a vintage train and is absolutely amazing with first class service.
"It has had an amazing response from the customers I've spoken to so far on the trips we've been on and people are glad to be out and sitting in a restaurant.
"We have housekeepers on board who are constantly cleaning surfaces, the tables are separated into bays and there is sanitiser throughout."