Historic Lake District railway to officially launch brand-new exclusive steam rail experiences

The iconic Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in the Western Lake District will officially launch their exclusive steam rail experiences, as they unveil all THREE of their brand-new luxury carriages at a special ceremony on Monday 16 May.

The beautiful new carriages, Joan, Ruth, and 1st Class Saloon 140 will allow visitors to make an extra-special journey in first-class comfort across Cumbria’s west coast, as they take in the spectacular views on one of the UK’s most scenic railway routes.

Joan is a stunning Pullman Observation Carriage, made of glass for panoramic views of the dramatic western coastline and mountains, with plush bucket seats and extra headroom.

While Ruth is an elegant Directors Saloon designed to deliver special 1st class experiences for guests with traditional cream teas or Lakeland hampers. Ruth features covered outdoor balcony seating, USB speakers, fold-down tables for wheelchair access, and two private compartments with an engraved glass sliding panel allowing both sides to become one.

The outstanding craftsmanship of the elegant new carriages are a legacy to Lord Wakefield who founded the Lake District Estates company and helped to save the Railway from closure in 1960. 

Joan and Ruth are named in honour of Wakefield’s eldest and youngest daughters – The late Honourable Mrs Joan Raynsford and the late Honourable Mrs Ruth Adorian. Both ladies were former Company Directors for over 50 years and the late Hon. Mrs Ruth Adorian was a strong local campaigner for disability access in public spaces.

Directors and family members from Lake District Estates company will attend the special ceremony on Monday 16 May at 11am to launch the spectacular new carriages, with Mr Peter Hensman (Chairman), Mr James Clarkson Webb and Ms Georgina Townsend representing Mrs Adorian for the launch of Ruth.

The Railway will also celebrate and acknowledge the engineering team from Ffestiniog Railway Company and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for their part in project.

All three carriages are available to book exclusively, or visitors can choose to upgrade their seats in Joan or the 1st class saloon on the Railway’s daily services, perfect for making a day out at the beloved Railway even more magical or to celebrate special occasions and events.

Rachel Bell, Head of Marketing, Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway says, “Our new experience carriages are a fun and unique way to relive the golden era of steam travel, with beautiful heritage features and plush seating for extra comfort. What better way to make special memories with friends and family whilst discovering Cumbria’s brilliant West Coast!”

Mr Peter Hensman, Chairman Lake District Estates says, “These new carriages take La’al Ratty to a new level of comfort and will enable our visitors to fully appreciate the beauty and grandeur of Eskdale. At the same time, by naming two of them Joan and Ruth, we pay tribute to the daughters of Lord Wakefield who, as directors of the Railway over 40 years, played a significant part in its development and success.”

Georgina Townsend, daughter of Mrs Adorian, says “my mother was the youngest daughter of Lord Wakefield of Kendal and a Director of Lake District Estates for over 50 years. She was devoted to serving all the many facets of the company and would have been absolutely delighted with ‘Ruth’ and very proud of the high standards of craftsmanship it represents.”

Mrs Adorian’s son, James Clarkson Webb comments, “fighting Motor Neurone Disease for the last 12 years of her life she was particularly keen on incorporating accessibility wherever possible and this carriage with its fold-down tables providing flexible space for wheelchairs is a fitting tribute to the ongoing legacy which she leaves behind.”

Book the special experience carriages online at www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk or call 01229 717171 ENDS

Notes to Editors: For further information please contact Holly Collins, Cumbria Tourism Bespoke PR – hcollins@cumbriatourism.org / 01539 822 222

Members of the press are invited to attend. Please RSVP to rachel@lakedistrictestates.co.uk by Friday 6th of May if you wish to travel on the train.

Press Call Monday 16th May

• Meet and greet Ravenglass at 11am.

• Press call and speeches at 11.30am. Welcome speeches by Mr Peter Hensman, Mrs Georgina Townsend, Mr James Clarkson Webb.

• Ribbon cutting ceremony.

• Joan, Ruth and 1st class 140 saloon will form one special train set pulled by a steam engine. Each guest will receive a picnic box to enjoy on the journey.

• The train will depart for Dalegarth for Boot station at 11.50.

• Tea/coffee will be served in the Fellbites café at Dalegarth for Boot station. The train departs Dalegarth at 1.10 pm and arrives back in Ravenglass at 1.40 pm. Event ends.

• The train arrives at Dalegarth at 12.30 where tea/coffee will be served.

• The train departs Dalegarth at 13.10 returning to Ravenglass station for 13.40

Carriage Quick Facts:

• Joan: A stunning Pullman Observation Carriage, made of glass for panoramic views of the stunning coast and mountains with plush bucket seats and lots of extra room. Available for private hire for up to 14 people or sea upgrades on daily services for £5 each way.

• Ruth: An elegant Directors Saloon Carriage, two separate compartments seating up to four persons with plush bucket seats, fold down table, built in USB speakers, engraved glass monogram partition with covered outdoor balcony seating at each end. Available for hire for up to 12 people, perfect for gift experiences, family celebrations or special events.

• 1st Class Saloon 140: A first class maxi carriage for enhanced comfort, with padded bench seating and drop light windows. Available for private hire for up to 16 people, or seat upgrades on daily services for £5 each way.

About Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway:

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is a family-owned business operating a heritage, narrow gauge steam railway on the Western Coast of the Lake District. The railway is surrounded by stunning views and walks and is based in Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park.

The carriage project match funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) started in 2016, they were built by the engineering team at Festiniog Railway Company, the three carriage prototypes have set out the future roadmap as we look to further build projects as part of ongoing objective to replace old rolling stock.