Come April 6th, the British Pullman carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will be used to transport race goers from London’s Victoria station to Aintree for the Grand National. They’ll take you to Glorious Goodwood, Royal Ascot and Cowes. If you are only used to regular commuter services into Victoria then be prepared for a completely different world. This is pampering at its best. Instead of eight coaches with half of one acting as a buffet car as you might find on First Great Western, East Coast or Virgin Trains, here you have most coaches being restaurant cars where you sit down and enjoy a grand meal as you speed to and from your special day out.
And special is how many people see it. The words “Orient Express” conjures up the style and luxuriousness of bygone days when only the very rich travelled in such opulence. It is a day of and a return to an age when elegance was available at a price but to only a very lucky few. Now it is more widely available and certainly not as unobtainable as it once was.
It isn’t just to sporting events that the Pullman or its sister train, the Northern Belle operate. They will take you to Chester or Edinburgh Zoos; The World of Harry Potter that Warner Bros. operate in north London; Sandringham House and Bletchley Park; Stirling and Whitby; Oxford and Cambridge; St Andrews and the Lake District; even Blaenau Ffestiniog.
You can travel on a day trip, something longer or even just for afternoon tea. But if you had afternoon tea at home, you’d settle down into your comfy armchair. On these trains you can do the same. No trying to keep your neighbours elbow out of your side as you catch the 16.54 back from Victoria to Brighton. Just comfort, tea, a selection of cakes and sandwiches and relaxation. If only the end of the day always be like that.
I don’t suppose the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express would like to take over the running of my local line?
For more information, click here
images © Venice Simplon-Orient-Express