A RED carpet will be laid across Runcorn station when one of the world’s poshest trains pulls into the platform next month.

And passengers will be handed a glass of champagne as they board the Northern Belle, described by actor Bill Nighy as 'the Grand Duchess of luxury trains'.

Then they will have the choice of tucking into a slap-up seven-course dinner or a lighter classic afternoon tea as the train meanders through to the north Welsh coast.

But they had better look smart if they want to travel in the distinctive umber-and-cream 1930s-style Pullman carriages which were once part of the iconic Orient Express group.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

For not only are tickets selling fast for the trip on August 20, but jeans, T-shirts and trainers would be frowned upon.

A Northern Belle spokesman said: “The train is the height of luxury and travelling on it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“So most people do like to dress up for the occasion.”

Strolling musicians will entertain passengers during the trip and there is even an onboard magician to make the day even more spellbinding.

The Runcorn train will be hauled by a heritage diesel locomotive but several Northern Belle excursions this year will be pulled by crimson-painted steam engine 'Princess Elizabeth'.

It will depart Runcorn at noon on Friday, August 20 and arrive back at 6pm. The fare is £255.

For more details see northernbelle.co.uk or phone 01270 899681.