Murder on the Orient Express café in Cumbria on track to 'open in Summer'

A couple who began renovating the former Bassenthwaite station, as well as transforming a Hollywood train into a cafe, say the pandemic hasn't stopped their grand masterplan.

It has slowed the development but they're still hoping to open by the Summer.

Diana Parums, the owner of the train and station, said: "The build this year has been substantially affected. Sadly people have become ill or having to self-isolate so aren't available like they were so everything is taking twice as long.

"Early in the year particularly getting materials was a real struggle even the basic stuff like cement and deliveries - booking in deliveries - took far, far longer and that has delayed it so instead of opening in Easter we're now looking at May, June, maybe even July, depending on when it's safe and complete."

Credit: ITV News
The train was used in the most recent Hollywood adaptation of 'Murder on the Orient Express'. Credit: ITV News

The 'steam train' starred in the multi-million dollar adaptation of 'Murder on the Orient Express', starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Dame Judy Dench.

The carriages are larger than normal to fit lighting and cameras inside. It's something that its owners say will help with social distancing measures once the attraction opens.

The old station platform is to be a garden, with around 2,000 trees and shrubs planted. As well as this there will be a bird hide and a woodland walk through a nature reserve.

Diana said: "Although it will be quite a large expenditure for us, it's our life's work, it's our life's savings that are going into it and I think worth it in the end because it's a really special thing that we're doing."

This is a couple putting their all into hospitality, which is currently closed. They, like many in Cumbria, have faith it will return. It's a journey of a lifetime, with more plot twists than could perhaps have been imagined.