Jazz up your holidays with a trip on the Northern Belle.

By Harry Bell

A red carpet will be laid across the platform at Dumbarton Central station next month for the arrival of one of the world’s most luxurious trains.

It will be the only visit to the town this year by the Northern Belle’s umber and cream 1930s-style Pullman carriages.

And 200 champagne-sipping passengers will tuck into a seven-course lunch trip as they travel over the beautiful West Highland line to Rannoch Moor.

A spokesman for the train, which was once part of the iconic Orient Express group, said: “It’s great to be back on track after Covid.

“We have had to reduce capacity a little and take other measures because of social distancing.

“But we are now confident that we can keep our passengers safe without affecting their enjoyment of the experience.”

Passengers will board the train over a red carpet at Dumbarton Central station at 11am on Saturday, August 28, before being handed a glass of champagne as they take their seat.

The West Highlands line, which skirts lochs, glens, forests, waterfalls and mountains on the way to Fort William, was voted the world’s top railways journey by readers of Wanderlust magazine.

There will also be a special steam-hauled Northern Belle over the equally spectacular Settle-Carlisle line from Glasgow on August 8.

This will be pulled by crimson-painted locomotive Princess Elizabeth, which once operated West Coast mainline expresses between London and Scotland.

The same journey featured on Channel 5’s “World’s Most Scenic Railways” programme earlier this year, actor Bill Nighy described the Northern Belle as “the Grand Duchess of Luxury”, adding: “Our plush grand tour has been the experience of a lifetime.

Other Scottish trips next month include one to York from Glasgow and Edinburgh on August 6, a West Highland lunch trip from Glasgow on August 7, a Classic Afternoon Tea trip on August 26 from Edinburgh, Stirling and Perth, and an excursion to Dumfries House from Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth on August 27.

Fares start at £210. For more details see or phone 01270 899681.


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