Andy Gardner from Southern Rail captured this shot of the British Pullman at Brighton Railway Station

PICTURES: Special train anniversary trip hosted by Michael Portillo sees Brighton Belle cars return to the city

Train history enthusiasts were able to witness an exciting moment at Brighton Railway Station on Saturday (April 30).

By Nicola Caines
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:21 pm

Luxury travel company Belmond had organised a special trip for its British Pullman train to mark the 50th anniversary of the final journey of the historic 1932 Brighton Belle, which was the first electric Pullman service in the world.

The train which pulled into the city’s station on Saturday included cars from the original Brighton Belle, which have been restored and converted.

The special trip was hosted by journalist, broadcaster, former politician and renowned railway enthusiast, Michael Portillo. Guests were able to embark on a journey reminiscing through time and get a complete insight into the train’s star-studded history through a talk from Michael Portillo on the British Airways i360.

When the train arrived in Brighton, staff from the Brighton Toy and Model Museum were excited to be able take a look onboard, thanks to Antony Ford, the curator of the Pullman Association.

Antony has recently redesigned his collection in the museum – which is based under the railway station in Trafalgar Street – with Brighton Belle memorabilia and ephemera. The display was unveiled on Saturday and will be available for people to see for the next 12 months.

The museum founder, Chris Littledale, also ran a beautiful model of the Brighton Belle on Saturday.

Chris acquired the model in O gauge scale of a full Brighton Belle five-car set which was in a terrible state of disrepair when he got it some 40 years ago. It languished in that state until the last few years when Chris completely restored and embellished this 1930s model including tables, lamps, seats and even mirrors in the interiors.

Chris said: “Keeping memories of our transport heritage is important both historically and from a nostalgic point of view. The Brighton Belle certainly carried many of the famous characters that are so much part of Brighton’s past. Laurence Olivier amongst many others was a regular traveller on the Belle. He famously created a row with Pullman when they took kippers off the menu for breakfast! They were soon to be reinstated. Dora Bryan, Terrance Rattigan, Nigel Green were but a few of the famous names to travel in those beautiful umber brown and cream carriages. Our display hopefully will remind people of those bygone days.”

Museum manager Jan Etches said it was an ‘amazing experience’ to see the Brighton Belle cars back in Brighton.

Take a look through some photos from the day from Jan at the museum and Andy Gardner from Southern Rail, who is a keen photographer and managed to capture some great pictures. Many thanks to both for sharing their photos with us.

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