A CHAMPAGNE steam trip from Newton-le-Willows aboard Britain’s poshest train this month sold out within days – despite tickets costing up to a staggering £700 each!

Bosses of the 1930s Pullman-style Northern Belle – which actor Bill Nighy once described on television as “the Grand Dame of luxury travel” – have now hastily organised a second journey in September.

A chuffed spokesman said: “We were surprised but delighted by the demand for tickets. Our steam journeys are always extremely popular, but we were staggered at how quickly this sold out.

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Passengers will board over a red carpet laid across the platforms at Liverpool Lime Street and Newton-le-Willows on Saturday, April 13, before a uniformed steward pours their first glass of champagne.

They will tuck into a three-course brunch while the train is hauled by a vintage diesel locomotive as far as Carnforth, where a giant steam engine called Tangmere will take over.

Then after a short break to explore Carlisle, they will be welcomed back on board with more champagne before a slap-up six-course dinner is served during the journey home.

Battle of Britain class locomotive Tangmere was named after world war two flying ace Douglas Bader’s former RAF base and used to haul crack express trains from London to the South Coast.

The spokesperson said: “It will be an experience that passengers won’t forget – travelling on Britain’s most luxurious trains, hauled by a famous engine over one of the world’s most beautiful routes.”

St Helens Star: Northern Belle Northern Belle (Image: Northern Belle)

The same journey featured on Channel 5’s “The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys” programme when narrator Bill Nighy raved over the Northern Belle, calling it “the Grand Dame of luxury travel”.

The second excursion over the route won’t be until Saturday, September 14. But in the meantime there will be several trips from Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington, Wigan and Preston to various destinations, including the Chelsea Flower Show and Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot.

Fares start at £295. For more details, see www.northernbelle.co.uk.