The Bournemouth Belle Train is one of the historical and important landmarks in British railway and train history. It is famed for its commute from London Waterloo to Bournemouth Central from the year 1931, expanding its reach between 1936 and and 1966 to Portsmouth and Bournemouth East before its discontinued service in 1967. What made this train part of such a rich heritage?
Technological and Mechanical “Eureka”
The Bournemouth Belle had been put together by the Pullmans and had been especially an all-Pullman train carriage. The Pullmans were a business that had tried since the late 1800s to penetrate and establish themselves in the train locomotive industry but failed miserably for a few times, three, to be specific, in their endeavour.
They almost succeeded at the onset of the 1900s but were met by sharp competition from the restaurant car and the coach at the time to a point that they almost closed shop. The year 1931 saw an end of their demise as they successfully put together an all-Pullman train that was one if the most efficient trains of the time that ran on steam engine. It was a feat as monumental today as the creation of a car that runs from zero to sixty miles an hour in four seconds.
During a time when most of the world went to rebuild and revolutionize their world, the Bournemouth Belle was a saving grace for the people of London Waterloo and Bournemouth.
The train was precise and definite every single Sunday since July 5th of 1931, always picking passengers at 10.30 in the morning, running a two-hour course to Bournemouth Central and snaking its way back to London Waterloo at 19.18hrs in the evening on every single Sunday during the Summer break.
This dependability was crucial and was rewarded by the making it a daily affair in the year 1936 and beyond. The service was also extended to cover Bournemouth East and Portsmouth at the time till the halting of the Belle in 1967.
Length in Service
The Bournemouth Belle served London and Bournemouth from the year 1931 to 1967 with a short hiatus due to the interference of the Second World War. Before 1937 the Bournemouth Belle served under the Southern Railway service up until it was put out of service between 1937 and 1947, after which it was nationalized in the year 1948 and run under the British Railways.
The British Railway continued its service up until the year 1967 when it was put out of service for the last time. Noteworthy was its service when the diesel engines came into play and was used more often than not in being the rescue vehicle for diesel engine trains that had issues on the London- Bournemouth railway path.
Setting the Pace
The Bournemouth Belle was arguably one of the most effective trains of its time, running on a steam engine and hauling an all-Pullmans carriage. The locomotive it ran on were SR Lord Nelson Class before the war and were switched to SR Merchant Navy Class locomotives starting the year 1947, which were superior in quality and power.
This set a precedent for other trains of its time and even ended up with the Belle having other trains with its last name. Such include the Brighton Belle, the Devon Belle and the Thanet Belle which were named after it years later.