The Tangmere steam locomotive heads for the Settle-Carlisle line in February

A historic steam locomotive named after the RAF base of Second World War fighter ace Douglas Bader will haul the Northern Belle luxury train on the Settle-Carlisle line this year.

Tangmere, an 86-tonne Battle of Britain class engine, has already mined crack like the Golden Arrow and Bournemouth Belle at 100mph between London and the South Coast.

But now he will team up with Northern Belle’s 1930s-style Pullman cars for the first time in February with a champagne trip from Leeds and Huddersfield.

Yorkshire businessman David Pitts, owner of the Northern Belle, said: “We are delighted to have been able to secure such a fantastic locomotive for this magnificent route. This will be the first time Tangmere and the Belle have worked together.

“Not only does the engine have had an illustrious career with Britain’s railways, it also has this historic connection to Spitfire ace Douglas Bader’s air base in Sussex.”

The Northern Belle was described by actor Bill Nighy as the “Grand Duchess of luxury train travel” on a Channel 5 TV show.

And 13 trips are planned this year from different cities on the Settle-Carlisle route, which is regularly voted one of the greatest train journeys in the world.

The train will steam between Carnforth and Hellifield, with passengers enjoying a Champagne brunch on the way out followed by a five-course dinner with wine on the way back.

For details, call 01270 899681 or visit

Jose P. Rogers