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Pints by the platform and the Campaign for Rail Ale

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Campaign for rail ale, and with cheap tickets you could soon be supping a proper pint by the platform. Read on and find out where to go for real ale by the rails and for whistle-whetting savings on tickets.

Just over a year ago, The Guardian’s Tom Naylor started the “Campaign for Rail Ale” – a movement to encourage Blighty’s adult rail-riders to wet their whistle in Britain’s on-platform pubs.

Back then, Naylor said sometimes it’s better to travel than arrive. And what better way to arrive or while away the time between connections than by stopping-over at the station for a leisurely pint?

At a time when many stations scheduled for refurbishment had their budgets cut, Naylor noted that Britain’s rail pubs were moving full steam ahead to become an attraction in their own right, not just a welcome spot for weary travellers.

“One thing is slowly (very slowly) improving at British stations,” he said, “and that is their pubs.”

“The last few years have seen a small but significant renaissance of the station pub. In northern England particularly.”

Topping Naylor’s list of prime platform-side pubs were the Steam House at Urmston in Greater Manchester and the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Other stations Naylor said were worth a whistle-wet included: the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar, the Head of Steam at Huddersfield, the King’s Head at Huddersfield, the Sheffield Tap, the Centurion at Newcastle, the Mad Bishop and Bear at Paddington and Dewsbury’s West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms.

Since Naylor’s article, station pubs have gone from strength to strength.

What’s more, real ale lovers can get more of their favourite brews by hopping on the train to one of the many CAMRA-approved ale events running in Britain this summer.

The Great British Beer Festival is happening on in Earls Court on 2-6 August 2011, and real ale lovers can get there easily by taking the train to London.

Train and ale lovers should also pencil in the Woodcote Festival of Ale, which takes place early in July, for next year. It’s easily reached by trains to Oxford and visitors can enjoy CAMRA-approved ales while taking in vintage steam engines.

See for more beer festivals – and don’t forget to check the journey planner for cheap train tickets there too.

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