Direct Rail Services (DRS), the UK’s leading rail freight operator, recently awarded the ‘Best Rail Freight Operator’ in the UK has signed a five year contract to haul the luxurious Northern Belle train also known as ‘The Orient-Express of the North’.

The Northern Belle, sister train to the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, reflects the ‘Belle’ trains of the 1930’s and DRS is delighted to be expanding its passenger operation portfolio to include this unique train. 

The first journey for the Northern Belle using DRS was on Saturday 2nd April 2011 and departed from Derby on a luncheon tour via Sheffield and Grantham.

pThe following day DRS, having successfully launched the service on the Saturday, operated a ‘Mother’s Day’ celebratory trip from Manchester to Liverpool including a circular tour of the Calder Valley.p

DRS will haul over 85 trips a year for the Northern Belle and will offer departures from over 60 regional stations to destinations country-wide and travelling to events such as Ladies’ Day at Ascot and the Chelsea Flower Show.

Steve Finn, DRS’ Business Development Manager commented, “DRS’ recent award as the best performing operator in the UK has put us in a league with premium customers. The award of the Northern Belle’s contract is yet another testimony of the high quality of services that we offer”.p

DRS is repainting two of its Class 47’s to complement the Northern Belle coaching stock livery.p

Andrew Overton, General Manager for Orient-Express’ UK train operations said ‘we are pleased to be working with DRS and look forward to seeing the Northern Belle liveried locomotives completing the image of the rake’


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