North West pub company Imagine Inns is opening its fourth pub this week following a £500,000 investment with Star Pubs & Bars. The refurbishment has transformed The Railway at Bromley Cross near Bolton into a stunning family-friendly pub serving great food and also offering much needed facilities for users of the village station, which is next door.
The pub will open at 6am on weekday mornings serving coffee and snacks to travellers and providing free Wi-Fi and USB points. Live train arrival and departure times will be on display along with railway timetables in two rooms, which have been designed in a Victorian waiting room style complete with a real fire.
Explains Imagine Inns’ director Mike Hales: “There’s no café at the station and it’s a real issue – especially for the hundreds of early morning commuters into Manchester when the trains are delayed or the weather is poor. It was a service local people were crying out for. Our pubs are all about serving their communities and we’re pleased to help out.”
The railway theme is continued in the pub’s dramatic new look. Hales visited stations in New York for inspiration and has given the pub a vintage feel harking back to the days of the 19th century railways with original station signs, quirky features such as seats made out of old suitcases and exposed brickwork. The Railway has a spacious bar, open plan kitchen, two dining areas and a revamped garden, which together have increased covers from 100 to 250. “I had a clear vision for the pub and Star has been very open to it – we’ve ripped out what was here and started again. It has been a huge project and it’s been good to have their support and expertise,” says Hales.
The Railway is expected to have a 50/50 wet / dry sales mix and to attract ‘drive to’ trade as well as local residents. It will offer an all day menu of locally sourced and freshly prepared food, a separate menu for vegans, and an extensive drinks range including gins, local cask ales and carefully selected wines.
Adds David Pritchard, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for the North West, “The Railway is a prime example of why we’re so committed to investing in pubs at Star Pubs & Bars. A refurbishment in partnership with an entrepreneurial operator was essential to its future viability and it’s now a hub for the community as well as a destination for the wider area. The Railway has all the trade marks of an Imagine Inns’ pub – individuality, creativity and fantastic hospitality.”