A RAILWAY enthusiast with a taste for real ale has married his two passions for his debut book.
Travel writer Bob Barton, of Colbrook Avenue, Hayes, travelled around the country in search of stunning watering holes steeped in the history of rail transport.
Covering around 12,000 miles over five years and visiting more than 200 pubs, sampling the best beers in each, the end product of Mr Barton’s graft is Unusual Railway Pubs, Refreshment Rooms and Ale Trains.
The 144-page picture book acts as part pub guide, part historical account of the shared past and links between rail and ale.
“It’s not exactly been hard work, if I’m honest,” said Mr Barton, who reached his destinations starting from Uxbridge underground station, and Hayes and Harlington.
“I have been interested in the railways since I was a kid, and I developed a taste for ale when I was in my late teens.
“You often find that people who are into trains also have an interest in real ale.
“All of the pubs featured have links to the history of the rail network, or were once railways buildings. Most are just a short walk from stations.
“There is only a handful of pubs actually in stations. There is one on the platform at Kew Gardens, called The Railway.”
Mr Barton visited establishments in Sheffield, Manchester, Yorkshire and across the south east, and even ventured into the Scottish Highlands in his search for the eminent ale vendors.
Closer to home, Baker Street, Euston, and Kings Cross St Pancras are among the destinations in the capital which boast historic rail landmarks that are now in business as bars.
“The book will be popular both with readers who want to sample some eclectic drinking places which can still be reached by train, or indulge in nostalgic armchair excursions infused with hops and steam,” said Mr Barton.
He is also an active community figure and last year resurrected the dormant Cranford Countryside Park Friends group.
Unusual Railway Pubs, Refreshment Rooms and Ale Trains, on Halsgrove Publishing, is priced at £16.99.
Visit www.halsgrove.com for more information.