The East Lancashire Railway's The Trackside pub at Bury Bolton Street station (pictured) reopened on July 4. The line's other pub, Buffer Stops at Rawtenstall, also reopened for business on the same day. MIKE KELLY

Nine railways you can enjoy a brew or pint at

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The East Lancashire Railway’s The Trackside pub at Bury Bolton Street station (pictured) reopened on July 4. The line’s other pub, Buffer Stops at Rawtenstall, also reopened for business on the same day. MIKE KELLY

While some heritage lines have yet to recommence their regular train operation, they have reopened their refreshment facilities. If you fancy a day out which also supports a heritage railway – perhaps combining it with a walk or cycle ride – why not call in for a cuppa, a pint or piece of cake or ice cream? Our railways need every penny they can get to help them survive through the dreaded Covid-19 crisis.

Here are nine railways you can support in this way:

1: Avon Valley Railway

Bitton station buffet is open Friday to Monday between 10am and 3pm, serving a selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and ice creams. Card payments only. More at: www.avonvalleyrailway.org

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2: Chasewater Railway

The Sidings Tea Room at Brownhills West station is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Refreshments include takeaway afternoon teas and homemade cakes. More at: www.facebook.com/thesidingstearoom

3: East Lancashire Railway

On July 4, the railway’s two pubs – The Trackside at Bury Bolton Street station and Buffer Stops at Rawtenstall – reopened for business. Both pubs will be open from midday – 11pm Saturday and Sunday. In line with government advice, records will be kept of visiting customers – and drinks must be consumed on outside tables at both venues. More at: www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk

4: Great Central Railway

Reopening on July 4, the Butler Henderson Café at Quorn & Woodhouse station will be open daily initially from 10am to 4pm. The layout of the café and seating areas has been rearranged to allow for social distancing, and a revised menu is available. More information, including the menu can be found at: www.gcrailway.co.uk/station-facilities/butler-henderson-cafe-quorn-woodhouse/

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A reminder of the author’s recent support for the Nene Valley Railway’s Overton station refreshment kiosk.

5: Nene Valley Railway

As previously reported, Overton station refreshment kiosk is open at weekends from 10.30am to 4.30pm for the sale of a hot and cold drinks, ice creams and other light refreshments. Contactless payment is strongly preferred. If visiting, please respect the social distancing and the one way system. More at: NVR’s Overton station webpages

6: Severn Valley Railway

The Severn Valley Railway’s (SVR) two popular pubs reopened on July 4 – with table service introduced at both.

The Railwayman’s Arms at Bridgnorth station is serving a range of locally-sourced real ales, lagers, ciders, spirits and more in a heritage setting. The SVR said the pub has carefully arranged seating inside the building and along platform 1, so that customers can enjoy a drink in a socially distanced setting.

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Meanwhile, at The King & Castle at Kidderminster, seating arrangements have been made on the glass-covered concourse to adhere to social distancing measures. While customers are welcome to walk in, seats can be booked online at https://svr.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets/28602?catID=28127&

7: South Tynedale

The Crossing Café at Alston is open for takeaway from Thursday through to Sunday 10a.m – 3p.m. Why not combine it with a walk along the South Tyne trail to ‘earn’ some cake? More details at: www.facebook.com/southtynedalerailway/

8: Talyllyn Railway

The shop at Tywyn is open, albeit on a limited basis. It will be open 10am-1pm weekdays initially, and also offers takeaway hot and cold drinks, cakes and ice-creams. More at www.talyllyn.co.uk

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9: Welsh Highland Heritage Railway

The Russell Café at Porthmadog reopened on July 1 for takeaway food and drink. More at: www.facebook.com/RussellCafePort/

…Check out our list list of railways and museums which are operating and when they’re set to recommence at: https://www.therailwayhub.co.uk/12056/railways-returning-to-action/

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About the Author

Gareth Evans

Let off some steam...