WHEN CAN I TRAVEL ON BRIGHTON BELLE?
People have been asking regularly to know when they will be able to travel on the Brighton Belle. Here are the honest and best answers we can offer.
Rebuilding a retired old 1930s train has its challenges, as people will understand. This has meant that we have in the past been over-optimistic in predicting a return to service; sorry about that.
It is easy to flip the other way and be too cautious – but whatever, the questions keep coming, as there’s such an intense interest for people to ride the Brighton Belle as soon as it is back in service. So below are the most honest and recent estimates that we can give you – please do not be upset if another important item to attend to forces the timetable back a bit – again! We will try to keep people informed.
When will it re-enter service?
The latest expectation is for testing on the rails in spring 2020. When the systems and their wiring are all in place and static testing yields perfect results (don’t forget we are replacing all the electrical ‘go’ gear on a 1930s train with reliable stuff from a later train), and when the interior fit is complete, the train will go off from Shirebrook to Eastleigh for testing on the third rail, and the testing regime is currently unclear. The process might take three months or more, so the earliest any runs are likely to take place will be winter 2019.
After some commercial test running, charter and public runs will start. This could be August 2020 – watch these pages for updates.
When can I book it?
As soon as we are clear of testing, and all has gone well, we shall open Brighton Belle for booking. This will likely be around the time of the public launch – so watch out for that.
Where will it run to?
Those who want to charter Brighton Belle have access to the whole of the South of England, third rail network. That’s broadly south of London, Berkshire, Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and a bit of Dorset – where the electric power rails run.
Days out by Brighton Belle will be offered to interesting destinations from London, and eventually from the South Coast to offer Days Out from Brighton and stations across to Southampton – as the train is expected to be based at Eastleigh.
As an example, from London, the Belle will leave at about 10.00, offer brunch on the outward journey, a stop at one or more destinations, with coach connection from the station, and then all will rejoin the train after for the journey home. The return trip will be a relaxing glide through some of the most beautiful countryside, whilst enjoying a long, comfortable and superbly prepared evening meal, with legendary Pullman service, offered amid sumptuous Art Deco glory. The train will be back in London around 21.00.