Saving the kippers
The Brighton Belle was an incredible service and there was nothing like it anywhere else; an entire Pullman train with white jacketed waiters. There were one hundred and fifty third class seats and forty first-class. But for this train to be useful, you had to have a leisurely start to your day in London to commute, as the earliest train from Brighton left at 9.40am. Of course this was much too late for anyone travelling to London for business. There were many regular travellers like Lord Olivier who lived in Royal Crescent at the time, for whom the Brighton Belle was ideal. In 1972 he fought a lengthy battle to save kippers on the breakfast run to London. So to everyone’s delight, the kippers remained!
Service ended in 1972
There was a last train from Victoria at 11.00 pm arriving in Brighton at midnight, which was very useful for actors and theatre goers getting home after the curtain fell in the West End. By 1972 the carriages, which were built in the 1930s, were getting very shakey on their wheels and tended to rock and roll along the line. Eventually British Rail ended the service on 30th April – the cost of replacing the rolling stock was too high. Fortunately the rolling stock found retirement homes on preserved lines and two of the Pullman coaches, which had female names, Vera and Audrey, were superbly restored and now form part the Orient Express.
If you want to read more about the Brighton Belle, visit the website here.
Do you remember?
Did you ever travel on the Brighton Belle? Did you see any celebrities on your journey? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.