Britain's poshest train returns to Norwich Station for Christmas

Jamie Mooney welcomes passengers on board The Northern Belle as it arrives at Norwich Station. 

Jamie Mooney welcomes passengers on board The Northern Belle as it arrives at Norwich Station. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Passengers stepped into Christmas on board Britain's poshest train as it returned to the city for a festive lunch experience. 

The Northern Belle, once part of the iconic Orient Express Group, jingled all the way into Norwich Station at midday on Wednesday (December 15) for a five-hour round trip across the countryside.

Train manager Ben Speer on board the Northern Belle when it arrived at Norwich Station. 

Train manager Ben Speer on board the Northern Belle when it arrived at Norwich Station. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The dining train features 1930s-style Pullman carriages named after British castles and stately homes and it also stopped off at Ipswich Station to pick up more guests. 

Passenger Gavin Bilyard, from Lessingham, said: "It is a little bit of luxury for a couple of hours which you don't get everyday and the food and service is fantastic." 

Carol Eminson, Lorraine Burrows, Gavin Bilyard and Janet Yallop ready to ride The Northern Belle. 

Carol Eminson, Lorraine Burrows, Gavin Bilyard and Janet Yallop ready to ride The Northern Belle. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Christmas lunch trains feature a seven-course meal, including a cheeseboard with biscuits and chutneys. 

There is also a welcome champagne reception, a bottle of wine per couple and table magicians.

The Northern Belle ready to depart from Norwich Station.

The Northern Belle ready to depart from Norwich Station. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Passenger Graham Frid, who lives in West Beckham, travelled with his wife and they have been coming on the Northern Belle since 2004.

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He said: "I like it because I'm old-fashioned and it isn't just the Northern Belle but we also go on the British Pullman and Orient Express.

Jill and Graham Frid ready to ride The Northern Belle. 

Jill and Graham Frid ready to ride The Northern Belle. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"I don't care what is pulling the train, whether steam or diesel, as long as the champagne glasses are always full."

Asked about worries over the Omicron variant, he added: "Looking at the demographic of people going on, the chances are most are double jabbed and have had a booster too." 

Doreen Urry, Mike Urry, Dawn Urry and Sue Day excited for their day on The Northern Belle. 

Doreen Urry, Mike Urry, Dawn Urry and Sue Day excited for their day on The Northern Belle. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Doreen Urry, from Norwich, came with her family and they are regular riders on the luxury train.

She said: "Last year was the first time in about 20 years I haven't been because of Covid, it is brilliant the service is good." 

The Northern Belle pulling into Norwich Station.

The Northern Belle pulling into Norwich Station. - Credit: Danielle Booden

With more people opting for staycations due to restrictions on travelling abroad, the Northern Belle has been even more popular. 

Ben Speer, train manager, said: "We have more people from the UK on board spending money they would on foreign holidays on this as a nice treat and something a bit different." 

The Northern Belle is also coming to Norwich on June 30 2022 for a Chester sightseeing tour day trip - see details at northernbelle.co.uk

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