Golden Arrow

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
ex-SR Battle of Britain Class 34085 501 Squadron with the Golden Arrow at Wandsworth Road, June 1959.
Type HA (Class 71) E5009 with the up Golden Arrow at Dover Marine c. 1971.

The Golden Arrow was a luxury train of the Southern Railway and later British Railways that linked London with Dover, where passengers took the ferry to Calais to join the Flèche d’Or of the Chemin de Fer du Nord and later SNCF that took them onto Paris.


The Flèche d’Or was introduced in 1926 as an all-first Pullman service between Paris and Calais. On 15 May 1929 the Southern Railway introduced the equivalent between London and Dover . The train usually consisted of 10 British Pullman cars, hauled by one of the Southern Railway’s Lord Nelson class locomotives, and took 98 minutes to travel between London and Dover. Because of market forces including the impact of air travel the underlying economy, ordinary first and third class carriages were added in 1931. Similarly the first class only ferry, Canterbury, was revised to allow other classes of passenger.

The train was stopped on the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. It resumed after the war on 15 April 1946. It originally ran with the pre-war Pullmans, but in 1951 a new set was built as part of the Festival of Britain.

In 1961 the Kent Coast electrification scheme the train became electric-hauled. A decline in demand saw the last Golden Arrow run on the 30 September 1972.


The preserved Bluebell Railway in Sussex runs a Golden Arrow train with Pullman cars "Fingall" - "Lilian" - LNWR Semi-Royal Saloon - "Eagle".

The service was revived for a one-off event on 6th May 1994, when it formed part of the celebrations for the inauguration of the Channel Tunnel. It was hauled by the steam locomotive Britannia.


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