The Railway Hotel is one of those pubs that should be painted white, but along with many other copy cats, is now Light Slate Grey with black highlights. To be fair it looks quite smart at the minute, but I’m predicting all the pubs painted this colour will look pretty dated in no time at all. Call me a traditionalist, but if I had pub it would be painted white.
Anyway, the Railway was the first pub we visited on our recent trip to Hebden Bridge. Maybe that was a good thing, because if we’d visited it mid-way through we might not have thought it as good as some of the others. Maybe that’s why our hosts from Halifax & Calderdale CAMRA had chosen it? That or the fact it’s roughly halfway from the station to the Fox and Goose, which was the next stop.
To be fair, the Railway is a decent pub, in the sense of what we expect from a traditional pub; no nonsense, clean and tidy, welcoming and serves a decent pint. I was told it was very much a locals pub although another group of
beer tourists drinkers (see photo, not a pint of proper beer in sight!) who had travelled with us on the train from … er I’m not sure where they got on, but they got off the train with us and managed to get there before we did.
As you walk in from the front the bar room is on your left, working back, anti clockwise there is a second front room, a games/music area to the rear, a back entrance out to the yard and a second bar that’s actually the side aspect of the main one. In contrast to the painted facade, the interior of the pub has uniformly been taken back to the bare stone with a screeded and painted floor. Although it initially feels a bit bare, it’s actually quite pleasant, in a spartan sort of way. There were real fires in the two front rooms, which showed evidence of being well used outside of the summer months.
The beer selection was decent and sensibly restricted; Wadworths Game of Stones and Swordfish (NBSS 3.5), Cross bay Zenith (NBS 3.5+) and Oakham Endless Summer. Anywhere that is peddling Oakham ales will do for me, although I plumped for two of the others, mainly because I can’t resist Cross Bay who are making some nice everyday beers. They’ve even had them on in one of our village pubs, which is nice to see. Prices were reasonable and it cost me £4.80 for a pint (Swordfish) and a half (Endless Summer), that’s £3.20 a pint by my reckoning. The Cross bay beer was a tad dearer, but stronger.
Overall, the pub was spotlessly clean, including the toilets, which for many dinosaurs would no doubt be the highlight of their day. Personally, I see peeing into a mutilated keg as being sacrilege, so I hung on until we got to the next pub. Scatology aside, I actually thought the urinals were interesting, well crafted, both effective and hygienic, which isn’t always the case in a lot of pub toilets.
Verdict; Proper traditional pub, well done, in a modern way.