Saturday, 19 February 2011

Brighton Belle Pullman returns

Brighton Belle Pullman returns

Happy news for those of us who are fans of 1930s-style Art Deco luxury travel (even if we may never be able to afford it ourselves!) with this report from the B.B.C. detailing the plan to restore the famous Brighton Belle Pullman engine that first ran almost 80 years ago.

Although not a steam engine it deserves an honourable mention, and certainly preservation, for being the first example of an all-electric Pullman service anywhere in the world when it began travelling up and down the Southern Railway in 1934.  The carriages are the last word in beautifully opulent Thirties design and many of them have since found their way onto the current Venice-Simplon Orient Express service (above).

Sadly upon the service's closure in 1972 the engine cars were allowed to go to ruin (left) until a special preservation trust was set up in 2008 with the intention of restoring the service to its former glory.  Work apparently started in 2009 and the intention is that 5 engine cars will be completely renovated over the coming years, with one maybe running in time for the 2012 Olympics!

The Brighton Belle was a watershed in the history of locomotion as well as a shining example of 1930s luxury and travel ethos.  It's great to see an effort being made to put these delightful pioneers back onto the tracks.  I wish the Trust every success and hope that one day I, and many others, may be lucky enough to travel on one of their Pullman services.


  1. I used to see the Venice-Simplon at Lewes station every now and then when waiting for my extremely unglamourous slamdoor commuter train to Brighton back in the late 90s. Didn't know some of the carriages were from the Belle.


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