Appleby mayor Gareth Hayes and chair of Eden District Council Andy Connell joined town business owner Yvonne Chalmers to welcome the Staycation Express.
The charter train returns to the Settle and Carlisle railway this summer with a new, luxury offering of first class service – and Yvonne, owner of Bojangles Bistro in Appleby shared a basket of home-baked cakes with Staycation Express catering manager, Clive Allan.
Yvonne said: “The Staycation Express brought visitors to Appleby last year and helped us start our recover from the lockdown. I am delighted to be able to show our appreciation as a town to the Staycation Express with a small gift of cakes.”
From this week until September 9, The Staycation Express will operate between Skipton, Settle, Appleby, and – new to this year – Carlisle.
The charter service runs alongside the railway’s daily service, operated by Northern, to provide additional capacity on the Settle-Carlisle railway during the peak summer season.
The Staycation Express offers customers the opportunity to experience one of the UK’s most historic and scenic rail journeys aboard a socially distanced, first class service.
This year, guests can travel in style and comfort aboard a newly refurbished five-coach InterCity 125 complete with leather reclining first class seating, COVID-secure perspex screens, private tables, large pictorial windows, and powerpoints.
New to 2021, Rail Charter Services will provide an enhanced catering buffet-counter and options for premium ‘at seat ’dining.
An on-board guide will also be available to provide a limited commentary as the train passes the many points of interest that punctuate the rail line.
Mr Hayes added: “Our historic scenic train line is the perfect way for visitors to arrive in Appleby, and the Staycation Express provides an additional service which is helping the town welcome more visitors.
“Shops and cafes in Appleby are very grateful for the service which was the first to bring visitors to our town following the easing of COVID restrictions last year, and we are delighted the service is to continue throughout summer 2021.”