THE iconic Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in the Lake District has officially unveiled new luxury steam train carriages.

A special ceremony was held today to mark the occasion. The three new carriages; Joan, Ruth, and the 1st Class Saloon are set to provide luxury travel along the Cumbrian west coast.

The names Joan and Ruth are used to commemorate Lord Wakefield’s eldest and youngest daughters – The Honourable Mrs Joan Raynsford and the late Honourable Mrs Ruth Adorian. Both women were former company directors for over 50 years.

The event featured speeches from the likes of Peter Hensman, who is the chairman of the Railway.

He explained that there was a greater demand for celebration in the area and the old carriages were no longer suitable to provide that 'extra-special experience'.

Peter joked that "our bums have got bigger and we have got taller".

Peter discussed the journey from a simple concept, to building the carriages and now finally getting them on the track. He explained: "We wanted three new carriages. An observation carriage, a special events carriage and a comfortable ordinary carriage.

"We knew the prototypes would not be cheap but the European Regional Development Fund helped with 25 per cent of that".

Peter said that whilst there were some teething issues, the railway is delighted with the quality of the coaches and it is wonderful seeing the concept come to life.

News and Star: PREVIEW: A sneak peak at the new luxury carriagesPREVIEW: A sneak peak at the new luxury carriages

Peter mentioned how he wanted the trains to be more inclusive.

"The carriages were ageing and we wanted to make it easier for those with disabilities".

New features for the carriages include accessible folding tables and flexible spaces for those with disabilities.

These added touches hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked on the carriages. Ruth Adorian was a strong local campaigner for disability access in public spaces as she herself suffered from motor neurones disease for 12 years.

Mrs Adorian’s son, James Clarkson Webb, said at the event: "This is a fitting tribute to the ongoing legacy she leaves behind."

Georgina Townsend, the daughter of Mrs Adorian, cut the ribbon to reveal the new trains to the public.

To book a special trip on the new carriages, book here

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