A new charter train service rolled into action on the iconic Settle to Carlisle Line on Monday bringing sightseeing passengers into Appleby along with celebrity music producer and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman and radio and TV crews.
The new socially distanced first-class charter train service has started following weeks of restrictions on leisure travel and will take passengers between Appleby and Skipton.
Mr Waterman — record producer, songwriter, radio and TV presenter — arrived in Appleby on the new train and was greeted by Appleby mayor Gareth Hayes and mayoresses Mary McKenzie and Rebecca Page.
The occasion also saw TV and radio crews roll into Appleby with the town featuring on local news on Monday evening and on the Tuesday morning BBC breakfast show.
Staff from Appleby tourist information centre also took the opportunity to create a pop-up shop at the station where they handed out Appleby leaflets to visitors and maps directing them into town.
Run by Rail Charter Services Ltd, the new charter trains provide a bespoke timetabled tourist service for people wanting to experience one of the UK’s most historic and scenic rail journeys.
They are running three times a day between Skipton, Settle, and non-stop to Appleby. A specialist first-class compartment, in a separate carriage, is available should a passenger become unwell during the journey and need to self-isolate.
The Appleby mayor was on the platform of the town’s station to welcome the 10am train and was invited on board to experience a trip to Skipton and back.
He said: “There were 50 people on the lunchtime train who may not have ordinarily come on the normal service and it may encourage them to use the normal service in the future.
“This is a brave initiative and we have to embrace it. If lockdown had continued much longer then we would have had a couple of shops closed down for good. We want to tell people that we are open for business. and this is one way of going about that.”