Beer and Trains

I’m writing this piece whilst sitting in the Parcel Yard, the excellent Fuller’s pub at Kings Cross station in London. You may recall that Kings Cross station, and the area around it, used to be draughty, dark, dodgy and there was literally nowhere to go to sit down and have a decent beer whilst you waited for a train. Today, the area is transformed and The Parcel Yard is my second office, it’s an absolute must to get to the station an hour early so I can sit and have a beer or two in the swanky refurbished old parcel offices.

This got me thinking about the intrinsic link between beer and trains. My first beer boss, the legendary Bob Hunter, was a train fanatic – specifically steam trains. His idea of heaven was to stand on the plate of an engine with a pint of real ale in his hand. One of the most popular Ale Trails in the UK is the Transpennine Ale Trail, with an excellent pub at, or near, every station from Batley across to  Stalybridge (avoid Saturdays, it’s stag and hen hell). My most re-tweeted Tweet EVER was a picture of me on the platform at Oakworth station standing next to a steam train with a glass of ale in hand.

So for this blog I thought I would say, enjoy a sherbert or two before taking the train but bear in mind some top tips

1.    If you’ve had a couple of cheeky ones and a snooze on the train sounds like a good idea make sure you have a fail safe system of waking up when you reach your station: an alarm clock, a sober friend or a fellow passenger (dedicated to my friends Jon and Pete who woke up at Peterborough station at midnight and had to spend the night sleeping in a bread cage)

2.    If travelling on rural lines, check if it’s a ‘request to stop’ train. Yes, these do still exist in the some areas of the South West, Scotland and Suffolk. I didn’t know this and a few weeks ago after sampling the delights of Ipswich I needed to travel on to the tiny town of Beccles. Groggily I saw the station sign for Beccles slowly go past the window at which point I panicked, stood up and yelled ‘STOP!’ Actually I didn’t shout stop, it was another word beginning with ‘S’, but luckily I had a friendly driver who pulled back into the station to let me off

3.    Make sure all items of clothing are firmly secured. After an afternoon ‘testing’ a few beers in a London pub, I jumped off the Tube at Victoria in rush hour only to lose a shoe. As I bent down to pick it up the buttons on my dress popped open. I thought I’d got away with it until some joker yelled from the carriage “Oi, luv, we can see your bra”. At which point hundreds – yes hundreds - of commuters turned to look at this dishevelled, slightly refreshed woman clutching one shoe on the platform. Oh, the shame

4.    Be prepared for fellow passengers being massively indiscreet – albeit unbeknown to them. The following is a true story and I’m still cringing as I write it. I sat behind a group of four blokes on the Transpennine Express from Dewsbury to Manchester last month. Clearly all beer fans, all a few sheets to the wind, and off for a night out, they had a copy of a local CAMRA magazine (which I submit features to) with them. One said to the others, “This Annabel Smith bird. I know ‘er, she lives in Horbury”. I congratulated myself on having a fan and prepared to introduce myself, until I heard “Never read her page though, it’s a load of rubbish”
Trains and Ale eh? They go hand in hand. 
 

Beer and Trains

Annabel Smith drinking beer​​​​​​​

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