By Visit Lake District web bod and classic rail enthusiast Rob Cowley.

Experience the Staycation Express this summer

Ever since it was first announced that The Staycation Express would return for 2021, I was excited about the prospect of taking this journey on the wonderful historic Settle to Carlisle railway. Even more so when I found out the train that would feature this year.

As a child I remember the excitement of the dawning of a new era in rail travel with the introduction of the Inter-city 125 High Speed Train. These wonderful locomotives provided unheard of speeds, shorter journey times and looked different to anything we had seen before, making many a child and grown-up alike thrill at the sight of these majestic machines speeding up and down mainline routes.

But everything moves on and only a handful of these trains now survive, being replaced over time by newer models. However, this only increases the excitement at being given the opportunity to ride on one of those wonderful original trains again.

The Staycation Express on the scenic Settle to Carlisle line

The Staycation Express is a fully restored original Inter-city 125 HST, which along with its smart new green and grey livery is a truly wonderful sight.

The matching passenger carriages that sit between the locomotives at each end are also something to behold, fully refurbished to the highest standards, offering first-class luxury travel throughout, with spacious leather seating, full air conditioned carriages, wi-fi and charging points at every seat.

Add in the buffet and dining car serving cooked brunch, afternoon tea and a fabulous array of hot and cold snacks and you have the perfect way to travel.

Luxury Travel on The Staycation Express

On that note, The Staycation Express happens to be the first daily service to offer a dining car on the Settle to Carlisle line since 1975. It's this type of innovation by the company offering the service - Rail Charter Services Ltd, that is helping to breathe new life into this fascinating and historic railway line, which has been threatened with closure on two occasions, firstly during the Beeching cuts of the 1960s and again in the 1980s under British Rail. There is some great historical information on the Settle to Carlisle railway website, which is definitely worth a read, but what is miraculous is that this wonderful line survived and continues to transport passengers over some of the most dramatic and scenic landscape in the UK, including that masterpiece of engineering - the famous Ribblehead Viaduct.

Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line

Back onboard, it has to be said that you are made to feel very special indeed. The dedicated team of staff are there to tend to your every need, a service that matches the luxury of the surroundings. If you have every wondered how good rail travel could be, then it is worth taking a journey on this train to see how it's done.

First class service onboard the Staycation Express

The staycation Express operates between Carlisle in the North and Skipton in the South, taking in stations along the way including Appleby, in the Eden Valley. If you are visiting the Lake District and fancy a superb day out in the Yorkshire Dales, there is an incredibly good ticket offer right now which enables you to get onboard this magnigficent train at Appleby at 9.40 am, travel one of the world’s great train journeys through the Yorkshire Dales to explore the beautiful market towns of Settle or Skipton and then take a return ride to be back in Cumbria a few hours later. If you are in Carlisle, there is an earlier connecting train to Appleby at 8.24 am.

The staycation Express runs daily except Fridays and Sundays until 9th September, so don't miss your chance to travel one of the world’s great train journeys and experience the luxury of this truly special rail service. Book your tickets at the Rail Charter Services Staycation Express website.

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