Railway Pubs, Cafes and Chip Shops: news from The SBS

Great British Institutions: the station pub and cafe and nearby chippies (official page of The Station Buffet Society)

This is page is devoted to excellence in station catering (my idea of excellence anyway) – be it pub, cafe, chip shop or buffet. If you have suggestions, please send them in!

News update

The Coffee Station at Hebden Bridge was visited recently: as good as ever, with a suitably Bohemian ambience. The Jubilee Station refreshment Rooms at Sowerby Bridge is always a pleasant experience (see below). The occasion of my last visit co-incided with a film show of the old loco shed. I remember bunking it back in the early 60s before heading off to Low Moor (and realising I had no money for either train or bus fare – a kind elderly lady gave me 6d!)

Sad news that the station cafe at Barnstaple is up for sale: but a nice business opportunity for someone. The new pub upstairs at Kings Cross is recommended – the Postal Rooms I think, my mind is a blurr…you can watch the suburban trains come and go from your seat. My trip to Germany and Holland recently led to the discovery of a nice Italian restaurant in the former station building at Landgraaf between Heerlen and Achen. You can pop in for a beer or glass of wine, or have a substantial meal. Part of the historic station building at Herzogenrath, just over the border into Germany, is also an Italian restaurant. Other parts of the building are used as council offices and an art gallery.


The Trackside Cafe is now open for business and is a nice cosy railway-themed place. It is next door to the community-run booking office and the excellent Millom Local History Museum. The steak pudding chips and peas are excellent.

Sowerby Bridge

The Jubilee (and yes, they mean that sort of Jubilee!) Station Refreshment Rooms is a wonderful oasis of calm and railwayness, almost Zen-like in its atmosphere.

‘Alberta’ climbing Greetland Bank c 1967 – quite near Sowerby Bridge

Always a good range of beers, including exotic foreign ones. Food provided – modest hot snacks, but breakfasts during the week. Excellent array of railway posters and photographs.


Huddersfield is lucky to have a great station buffet run by Chris and Geraldine, ably supported by Sandra, and no less than two real ale pubs. Gez’s bacon butties are world class. The buffet is a great supporter of local charities and has lots of railway ephemera. Over on Platform 1 there is The Head of Steam at the west end and The Station Tavern on the east. Both are excellent, each with a very different ambience to the other. Don’t forget to admire our Grade 1 listed station front and statue of ‘Arold (see below).


Kirsty, Norman and their great team of staff provide a 7-day a week service at the Station Cafe, overlooking the station. Big hearty meals to set you on for a hard day’s work in th’mill. Lots of railway tackle around including timetables and general information.

St Pancras: The Betjeman Arms

This busy station pub and restaurant always has a good range of real ale and the terrace outside is a good place to enjoy the polluted London air. The food inside is really good value and very tasty.

Euston: The Euston Arch

This new real ale and ‘specialist beer’ (i.e. foreign) pub is well worth a visit. If you are homesick for up north you will see the names of many Northern towns in the stonework outside; this was one of the two gatehouses leading up to the Euston Station of old, both BR knocked it down. Progress y’know.

Stalybridge Buffet

The station buffet is an old favourite, and Sylvia runs a great institution – best enjoyed on a cold winter’s night with the fire blazing away. Always a good selection of real ale. The black peas are a culinary speciality. Good old meat pie and mushy peas is also recommended.

Hartlepool: The Rat Race

Now here’s a quirky place for quirky people. It’s really special, complete with Paul Delvaux pictures adorning the walls (Belgian surrealist with a liking for steam locos and naked women). Has odd opening hours – be warned. A very good selection of real ales.



3 replies on “Railway Pubs, Cafes and Chip Shops: news from The SBS”

Regarding cafes at junctions that are relatively in the back of beyond, what about Crianlarich station cafe ? A proper cafe replete with all the headache-inducing Scottish delicacies anyone could wish for ! The cafe at Llandudno Junction isn’t bad either.

Not quite a railway café but in the 1950s, when I was a regular train-spotter at Crewe station, it was usual for the train-spotting fraternity to get their refreshments from the railwaymen’s cafe which was on one of the platforms, quite close to the heart of the station. I don’t remember it well but it was quite an old building, probably Victorian, with a rough and ready, no ceremony, look. It was much cheaper than the snack bars for passengers and we were tolerated by the British Rail workers who used it. I enjoyed rubbing shoulders with drivers and firemen. Hot Bovril was my choice, especially in winter.

I remember it well – and if it is the place we’re both thinking of (at the north end of the station on what I think is now platform 10) it was actually mainly for postal workers, though railwaymen and spotters like us used it as well. Anyone else got memories? I think it may have been called The Coffee Tavern which suggests it could have been linked to the Railway Mission attempts to steer workers away from the demon drink!