Passengers in a Pullman Palace Car from the illustrated weekly newspaper, The Graphic.

The Midland Railway introduced Pullman cars to the United Kingdom on 1 June 1874 with the first regular service running from Bradford to London St Pancras via Leeds. Two years later, after the opening of the Settle and Carlisle line, they were extended to run all the way between London and Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The cars, with their distinctive celestory roofs and lavish seating, were imported as kits from George Pullman’s factory in Detroit and were the height of first class luxury. 

This account of a journey from Woodlesford to London in a Pullman was written by a man who signed himself “A Traveller”. It was printed in the the Rothwell Times and is dated 3 June 1874, just two days after the service started. Its intriguing to speculate about “the select parlour full” of local passengers for whom the train made a special stop at about 9.05am.

It’s more than likely that they were local VIPs from the nearby country houses or businesses, invited to try the new service by the railway company. “A Traveller” says he only had a 3rd class ticket but he’s obviously an educated man. Could he have been from the local clergy, or was it The Editor himself writing under a pen name?