CHAMPAGNE-sipping passengers taking a slap-up trip on Britain’s most luxurious train from Warrington to Cardiff found themselves unsuspecting TV stars last week.

A Channel 5 camera crew filmed aboard the Northern Belle’s 1930s-style Pullman carriages for their “The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys” programme.

And more than a million and a half viewers watched as Hollywood actor Bill Nighy told them how those on board were “lapping up all that this luxury train has to offer”.

But a Northern Belle spokesman revealed that all the passengers had been asked for their permission before being featured.

The luxurious Northern Belle

The luxurious Northern Belle

He explained: “Some years ago another company’s train was filmed with rather unfortunate results.

“It seems that one gentleman on board had taken his sexy secretary along for the ride instead of his wife.

“So neither of them were very happy when they appeared on telly – and nor were their respective partners!

“Of course we are sure that none of our respectable Northern Belle passengers would stoop to such a dastardly deed.

“But just in case we check with all of them first to ensure they are happy about being filmed.”

The trip on May 22 set out from Preston before picking up more passengers at Wigan, Warrington and Chester.

They tucked into brunch on the morning journey to Wales before a five-course dinner with wine was served on the way back home again.

Impressed Nighy raved over both train and the scenery as it snaked through the Shropshire hills and past Ludlow Castle.

Bill Nighy.

Bill Nighy

He told viewers: “This is a railway experience that harks back to the halcyon days of travel.”

The programme also featured the Fron Choir singing in front of the Cefn Mawr viaduct and a canal boat trip across the Pontcysyllte aqueduct over the River Dee.

The Northern Belle returns to Warrington on November 19 for a trip to Oxford and Waddesdon Manor, the luxury ancestral home of the Rothschild family, with two more journeys to Cardiff – and several more destinations – planned for 2022.

For further details, see or phone 01270 899681.