A RAIL operator has suspended its 2022 tourist service the Staycation Express on the Settle-Carlisle line - blaming challenging economic conditions.

Since launching the 'first ever daily timetabled tourist rail service' on the 73-mile route,in July, 2020, Rail Charter Services and its Inter City coaches had won many admirers.

The announcement, which comes amid rising costs and the fear of reduced demand, was met with sadness by observers.

In a statement on its website, a spokesperson said: "Unfortunately we're suspending our 2022 services.

"Current economic conditions have created the perfect storm of ever rising costs and constrained demand as people tighten their belts during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.

"We look forward to seeing you aboard in 2023!"

The company's services, powered by Class 43 'Inter City 125' locomotives, had become a popular sight at locations such as Skipton and the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Made up of five carriages with a power car at each end, the distinctive green and silver trains provided luxury first class travel for passengers.

Many Twitter users reacted to the announcement with disappointment, with one saying: "Sorry to hear must be a hard decision to make I was hoping to come for a journey this year but hopefully next year."

Another added: "Very sorry to hear it as I had hoped to do one or two trips this year but it is totally understandable.

"I hope your short HST set will find some use somewhere rather than standing idle for the summer."

The normal passenger services operated by Northern, serving locations such as Skipton and Settle, will continue to operate on the line and are unaffected.

Rail Charter Services was launched in July, 2020 with a special event at Skipton Station involving the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, David Kerfoot and train enthusiast Pete Waterman.

It was set up specifically to run an all first class air conditioned train along the Settle to Carlisle railway line. The train ran three return trips a day between Skipton and Appleby.