A new class of train pulls up

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A VISIT to Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is like a trip to days gone by.

The quaint little railway platform is a spotter’s delight – lined with engines and carriages from Britain’s locomotive history.

All Aboard: Ecclesbourne Valley Railway managing director Martin Miller (back row, centre) and catering staff members Angela Dunn, Anne Boultbee, Dawn Wynne and Natalie Sayer pictured on the new luxury Pullman carriage cafe, which will be open to the public seven days a week.

All Aboard: Ecclesbourne Valley Railway managing director Martin Miller (back row, centre) and catering staff members Angela Dunn, Anne Boultbee, Dawn Wynne and Natalie Sayer pictured on the new luxury Pullman carriage cafe, which will be open to the public seven days a week.

Among the diesel rail cars and Barclay saddle tanks, the newest attraction sits proudly – the Pullman.

Unveiled only this month, the Pullman carriage represents a different class of train.

Neil Ferguson-Lee, vice chairman of the railway, explains: “The name Pullman is protected - not just anyone can use it.

“We has to apply to British Rail for permission in order to use it.

“Pullman represents the last word in luxury.”

The carriage was originally built in the 1950s and was used as an intercity train in London.

It went on to be used as the Gatwick Express before coming to Wirksworth in 2003.

“It was the first carriage we received here,” Neil says

“It had literally been used up to just a few weeks before it came here.

“Some of the carriages still had newspapers in them.”

The train was put to work on the restored railway line straight away – carrying thrilled passengers along its eight and a half miles of track right up until last year, when the decision was made to refurbish it.

The carriage was transformed into a proper dining car, with half of it taken up by a fully functioning kitchen.

Catering manager Angela Dunn explained the changes made: “There used to just be a little area which was a counter and all we used to do was bacon butties, toasties and sandwiches.

“We’re now offering quite a diverse menu with things like full breakfasts, jacket potatoes, paninis, burgers, nachos and salads on it.”

The carriage was previously only used at weekends, however it will now be open to the public seven days a week.

Even when it is not moving it can be used as a cafe, with outdoor seating in the warmer weather.

“We’re marketing it as a unique dining experience for the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, aiming really at families,” Neil says.

“One of the things we really want to stress is that we want to make this accessible, not just to people who like railways.”

As well as being open to the public the carriage is available for private hire.

Further information on timetables and pricing is available by visiting www.e-v-r.com or calling 01629 823076.