Rail Charter Services Ltd have released details of a dedicated train service on the Settle and Carlisle line this Summer.
The Settle Carlisle line is one of the most famous lines in the UK and will play host to dedicated socially distanced first-class trains aimed at days out for families after the COVID-19 lockdown.
The classic InterCity coaches feature reclining seats with a private table with large windows.
The service has been backed by Jeremy Hosking, who owns Locomotive Services (TOC) Ltd.
Locomotive Services (TOC) Ltd will operate the trains, and will be promoted through Rail Charter Services Ltd working in cooperation with the Settle Carlisle Railway Development Co Ltd.
The new timetabled trains will run three times a day between Skipton and Settle to Appleby.
The trains will run the 112-mile round trip from Monday to Saturday between the 20th July and 12th September.
First Class day returns are £29 per person and £99 for a family of 4.
This is the first time that a charter train operator has run a timetabled train service alongside a franchised operator in England.
There are plans to offer onward tour options including the Lake District and the Eden Valley.
Due to social distancing, tickets will be sold in pairs to people from the same household, or social bubble.
Settle Carlisle Railway Development Co Ltd will be providing a mixture of on train and on station catering services.
COVID-19 measures will be in place, with seats in individual bays being divided by perspex screens. A one-way boarding and alighting system will be in place, with card payment in advance only.
One 1st class compartment coach will be coupled to the train for guests who develop symptoms that need to self-isolate.
Passengers can book one of the following three train combinations for a short or long day out in Cumbria from the south (yellow or green) or an afternoon at Settle or Skipton from the north (blue).
Rail Charter Services is working alongside Northern, which has struggled to provide enough capacity for the route during the summer period, and demand is expected to be even higher post lockdown.
Trains will be made up of four mark 3 First Class coaches (FOs) and one Mark 2 brake vehicle.
The train will be hauled by two class 47 locomotives, one at either end of the train.
Adrian Quine, Director of Rail Charter Services, who developed the concept said: “A lot of work has gone into negotiating these exciting new services with our industry partners and stakeholders and we are delighted to be able to bring some post COVID-19 cheer to families at this difficult time.”
“This service really is groundbreaking for the rail industry. This is the first time that a dedicated timetabled tourist train has operated in England and has the potential to be a game changer in other popular areas of high seasonal demand.”
“We are working closely with Northern Rail, The Rail Delivery Group, Network Rail and the Settle to Carlisle Development Company all of whom have shown both pragmatism and a genuine willingness to get this exciting new service up and running.”
“Our aim is that this new dedicated tourist train service can help get the local economy back up and running and provide a safe and enjoyable environment for families to enjoy this stunningly scenic route.”
“By providing dedicated high quality traditional all 1st class trains aimed at leisure travellers we can segregate this distinct market from the normal passengers using the route including locals and those travelling long distance from Leeds to Glasgow”.
“This rolling stock has been specifically tailored to meet the current 1+ metre social distancing requirements with only window seats sold and specially fixed Perspex screens between the seat bays. This still gives us a seating capacity of 128 per train”.
John Thomas, director of policy at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “As an industry we positively welcome innovative ideas that will help to boost capacity, once travelling by public transport for leisure is no longer being discouraged by government. As restrictions are eased these extra services will help to support people to travel more safely and boost the local tourist industry by enabling people to enjoy a beautiful part of the country.”
Paul Brown, Chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, said: “We congratulate Rail Charter Services Ltd and Locomotive Services (TOC) Ltd, for this timely initiative to satisfy a specific demand right now but may well also demonstrate an ongoing need for a really first class regular service over the roof of England. The journey is really special and so are these trains. Our volunteers are really looking forward to welcoming visitors once again.”
John Moorhouse, Chairman of Settle Carlisle Development Co. Ltd, said: “The astonishing new enterprise is an unparalleled first ever opportunity to ride on a regular, deluxe tourist train service on the famous Settle – Carlisle railway. The Settle Carlisle Development Company is proud to be associated with this unique venture which at last brings the experience, regularly available to rail travellers in Switzerland, New Zealand and other picturesque parts of the world to our own country and our splendid scenery”
Tickets can be booked through the Rail Charter Services website by clicking here.
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