AN historic steam locomotive named after world war two fighter ace Douglas Bader’s RAF base will haul the luxury Northern Belle train over the Settle-Carlisle line this year.

Tangmere, an 86-ton Battle of Britain class engine, once pulled crack expresses like the Golden Arrow and the Bournemouth Belle at 100mph between London and the South Coast.

But now it will team up with Northern Belle’s 1930s-style Pullman carriages for the first time in February with a slap-up champagne trip starting out from Leeds and Huddersfield.

Yorkshire businessman David Pitts, who owns the Northern Belle, said: “We are delighted to have managed to get such a fantastic locomotive for this beautiful route.This will be the first time that Tangmere and the Belle have worked together.

“Not only did the engine have an illustrious career with British Railways but it also has that historic link with Spitfire ace Douglas Bader’s air base in Sussex.”

The Northern Belle was described by actor Bill Nighy as the “Grand Duchess of luxury train travel” in a Channel 5 TV programme .

And 13 trips are scheduled this year from various towns over the Settle-Carlisle route, which is regularly voted one of the world’s greatest train journeys.

The train will be steam-hauled between Carnforth and Hellifield, with passengers tucking into a champagne brunch on the outward journey followed by a slap-up five-course dinner with wine on the way home.

For more details phone 01270 899681 or see