UK Railtours have announced another anniversary railtour, on Wednesday 13th September 2017, featuring the Belmond British Pullmans, marking fifty years since the end of steam on the Southern.
The Golden Arrow was without doubt one of the world’s most famous named trains, the means by which discerning customers travelled between London and Paris before the days of the Channel Tunnel.
The elegant Pullman train ran from London Victoria to Dover Marine where it connected with cross-channel sailings to Calais. From here its SNCF counterpart train, Le Flèche d’Or, would be waiting to complete the journey to Paris. The journey between the two capitals took six hours.
This tour is part of our programme of special trains marking the 50th anniversary of the end of Southern Region steam in 1967. You will be welcomed in the Belmond Pullman Lounge on Platform 2 at London Victoria before being shown to your seat aboard the fabulous British Pullman. Several of these perfectly restored Pullman carriages saw service on the Golden Arrow in its heyday.
Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives were often to be found at the head of the Golden Arrow, so it is fully appropriate that 35028 ‘Clan Line’ will be in charge as we depart from Victoria mid-morning. A glass of Bellini heralds the service of a delicious Pullman Brunch and our journey will take us by way of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Ashford, through relaxing Kentish farmlands to Canterbury. The station is close to the city centre and to the cathedral, mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. You will have over three hours to explore, maybe exploring the excellent range of shops. Or let a boatman take you by punt along the tranquil waters of the Great Stour River.
We reboard the British Pullman and, still with ‘Clan Line’ leading the way, partake of a chilled glass of Champagne. We pass the ‘Cinque Port’ of Sandwich and historic Deal and enjoy clifftop views out to sea as we descend towards Dover. At Folkestone Warren, in the shadow of the famous White Cliffs, we run close beside the English Channel. The French Coast will be visible if the weather is reasonably clear. By this time we will be enjoying a fine four-course dinner, complete with your choice of wine. So as to give plenty of time to savour this sumptuous repast, our homeward run will be via Tonbridge and Redhill, where we join the Brighton Main Line for our journey back to London.