The Orient Express arrives at Bassenthwaite Station - but whodunit?

  • Video report by Lauren Ostridge

There's been a surprise for visitors in the Lake District this month - a 1920s steam train has appeared on the old railway tracks at Bassethwaite Station, near Keswick.

It's no ordinary train. It's a full-scale replica of a world-famous locomotive used in the recent Hollywood adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.

The French SNCF Class 241 was bought by Diana and Simon Parums who hope to turn some of the carriages into a café along with the former station building.

Credit: ITV Border

Speaking to ITV Border, Diana said the idea to buy the train was by chance: "We had been down to a specialist haulage yard in Stoke and they had a carriage that we were interested in. When this was sitting next to it, it just seemed an opportunity not to be missed, it came available and here we are!"

The steam train is full of the props from the multi-million dollar movie, starring Johnny Depp and Dame Judy Dench, and the carriages are larger than normal to fit lighting and cameras inside.

It took nearly six months for Simon and Diana Parums to dig out the old tracks of the station, which was closed during the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

The train was then transported and placed onto the line. The couple bought the station last April and applied for planning permission from the Lake District National Park to turn the derelict station building into an accessible cafe and tourist attraction.

"We quickly realised there wasn't enough room in the old station itself to be a cafe. So we looked for a carriage in order to make it financially viable. But because it's such a lovely site, nature-wise, one of the emphasis we want to put on it is nature", Simon said.

In the future the Diana and Simon would like to turn one of the carriages into a bird hide and they are exploring the idea of turning the station's cottage into an observatory.

For now the private site is not open to members of the public, and the owners say 24-hour security is in operation to prevent trespassing.

It's hoped all of the work will be completed by December 2020, as long as everything stays on track.