Preparations are well under way for one of the Churnet Valley Railway’s biggest crowd-pullers, the annual Rail Ale Trail which this year takes place over the weekend of July 7/8/9.
The event is a unique opportunity to sample from a selection of more than 100 beers and ciders on offer at the Railway’s three stations in addition to neighbouring pubs through the valley. Adding to the attraction there’s a full timetable of heritage passenger trains over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday with additional live music on offer over the three days.
Now into its seventh year, the Rail Ale Trail is organised in conjunction with North Staffordshire’s own Titanic Brewery, and has grown into a huge success. Large numbers of visitors descend on the valley to enjoy a glass or two of ale combined with an 11 mile round trip on Staffordshire’s Premier heritage railway.
“The Rail Ale Trail has gone from strength to strength each year and we are preparing to be even busier at this summer’s event,” said Anthony Hancock, Churnet Valley Railway director. “The prospect of catching a heritage train between bars at each of our stations, and pubs beside the line, has really captured visitors’ imagination, whether they be real ale or rail fans.”
The main bar facilities at Kingsley & Froghall Station will be open from midday on Friday July 7, with a diesel-hauled service along the line commencing during the late afternoon and running into evening for a bargain price of £7 per person. There will be live acoustic music at Froghall during this time, plus bars will be open at Consall and Cheddleton Stations.
The bars then open for the main event at all three stations on Saturday July 8 and Sunday July 9, with steam and diesel hauled trains in action on both days plus a Saturday evening diesel service. A live band will play Sixties and Seventies music at Froghall over the weekend where there will also be a barbecue.
Three local pubs beside line – The Railway at Froghall, the Black Lion at Consall and The Boat Inn at Cheddleton – are planning to join in the event and will offer their own selections of real ales and food.
No booking is required, though a discount is offered on advance tickets online, and entrance to the station bars is free. Special prices will apply for train journeys. For more information call 01538 360522 or check the Railway’s website, www.churnet-valley-railway.co.uk or Facebook page.