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 on to Paris.
The Flèche d’Or
was introduced in 1926 as an all-first Pullman
service between Paris
. 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 on the underlying economy, ordinary first- and third-class carriages were added in 1931. Similarly the first-class-only ferry, Canterbury
, was modified to allow other classes of passenger.
The train service was stopped at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. It resumed after the war on 15 April 1946; initially running with the pre-war Pullmans and the Trianon Bar car, a converted twelve-wheeled Pullman car. In 1951 a new set was built as part of the Festival of Britain.
In 1961 with the Kent Coast electrification scheme the train became electric-hauled. A decline in demand saw the last Golden Arrow run on 30 September 1972.
The preserved Bluebell Railway
runs a Golden Arrow train with Pullman cars "Car 64 (Christine)", "Fingall", "Eagle" "Car 76 (Lillian), and a Van C No. 404.
The service was revived for a one-off event on 6 May 1994, when it formed part of the celebrations for the inauguration of the Channel Tunnel. It was hauled by the steam locomotive Britannia.
- Night Ferry - sleeper train between London and Paris/Brussels (1936-1980)
- Eurostar - train service via the Channel Tunnel (since 1994)