Tuesday, 6 September 2011
The Bournemouth Belle was a Pullman train, introduced by the Southern Railway in 1931. Unusually, it ran on Sundays only at first, but became daily in 1936. Journey time from London to Bournemouth was 2 hours 9 minutes, running non-stop from Waterloo to Southampton. By 1939 it had been speeded up by three minutes. The brand lived on under British Railways until the south-west main line was electrified in 1967, as a result of which you can now do the journey, hourly throughout the day, in 1 hour 45 minutes, albeit with more stops and not in such luxury -- certainly no restaurant car these days: the most you can hope for is a sandwich trolley. No train now runs non-stop between London and Southampton.