Saturday 21st January 2012
You may think that The Trackside is nothing more than a bar on a preserved railway that sells a bit of cask beer to the visitors. After all, there are many of them. But no, this is one of the small number that are fully-fledged pubs and are open at all normal hours and serve thirsty customers long after the railway has closed. I am thinking that the only others that function in the same way are the two at each end of the Severn Valley Railway (Kidderminster and Bridgnorth) and the little pub on the Foxfield Railway at Blythe Bridge in rural Staffordshire.
It was a full operating day when I visited and the bar was busy but nowhere like it can be on some days. As always I was spoiled for choice.
I took a look at the day's beer menu: Acorn (Wombwell, S Yorks) Blonde (4.0%); Allgates (Wigan) All Black (3.6%); Beartown (Congleton, Cheshire) Ursa Major (4.5%); Bridgehouse (Oxenhope, N Yorks) Heathcliffe Stout (5.0%); Hambleton (Melmerby, N Yorks) Nightmare (5.0%); Irwell Works (Ramsbottom) Mad Dogs and Englishmen (5.5%); Moorhouse's (Burnley) Broomstick Bitter (4.0%) and New Year's Resolution (4.2%). Finally, there was the regular house beer Piston Broke (3.9%) from Outstanding Brewing of Bury itself.
During the day, especially when the railway is running, the bar fulfils its other function as the station refreshment room. There is all the usual fare at very reasonable prices and some meals with Lancashire specialities such as Cheese and Onion Pie and Rag Puddings. See below for times of food service.
On the first Thursday of each month there is a Folk night and in the warmer weather there often live bands, sometimes using platform 3 as their stage with the audience on platform 2 with the bar conveniently close by.
Inside the appearance is a bit like a small barn and it seems the main item of decoration are the pump clips from previously served beers
Although it can be quite hectic at times the Trackside Bar is a great place to drink beer with an extensive beer list.
The Trackside Bar, Platform 2, Bolton Street Station, Bury BL9 0EY. Tel: 01617 646461
Open: Monday and Tuesday 12.00-24.00; Wednesday and Thursday 09.00-24.00;
Friday and Saturday 09.00-00.30; Sunday 09.00-23.30
Food service is available as follows: Wednesday to Friday 09.00-15.00;
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 09.00-16.00. Breakfast: 09.00-12.00.
Monday and Tuesday: No food service.
Bolton Street Station is very easy to reach as Bury Interchange is around five minutes away. It has Metrolink (Tram) connections to central Manchester and it also has a large bus station with many routes. Of course you could even arrive on a steam train from Rawtenstall or Ramsbottom!