VISITORS to Bassenthwaite were left puzzled when a steam train appeared on the site of its railway station which closed over 50 years ago.

The full-size replica of a French SNCF Class 241 train was the set of the film Murder On The Orient Express and it is due to be turned into a café, together with the former station building.

It is the brainchild of Di and Simon Parums, who successfully applied for planning permission to the Lake District National Park, with help from firm Addis Town Planning.

Di, 52, said her grandparents owned the old vicarage nearby and she watched the old station site fall into disrepair throughout her life.

“We want to restore everything exactly as it was. The building for the café isn’t big enough to make it a sustainable business, so we were looking at putting a railway carriage and we had the opportunity of getting this one, which was the film set for Murder on the Orient Express.”

There is a buffet carriage, a baggage one and a carriage which will be used for staff and as storage.

But in the future, the couple would like to turn one of the carriages into a bird hide and they are also exploring the idea of turning the signalmen cottage into an observatory.

“We wanted to bring lots of visitors to this end of the Lake District and give people an extra reason to come here,” said Di.

The café will be fully accessible for disabled people, with disabled changing places and showers as well as a path to walk along the surviving track bed.

They are hoping to open the new business in October, but this will depend on progress on the restoration work.

Di said: “It’s all about inclusivity, we will never turn anybody away.

“We want to serve a full range of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free as well as traditional Cumbrian food.

“We want everybody to come and enjoy it.”

Bassenthwaite Lake Station, originally Peel Wyke Station, was part of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway and operated between 1865 and and 1966.