Sunday 25th January 2015
This pub is another example of the revival of unused but not unloved old station buildings. This is an extremely good example of what can be done. It is an original as the building is the only one the station has possessed. It was completed in 1872 for the opening of the line on 2nd September 1873. It served the line from Manchester Central to Liverpool Central via Warrington Central.
It is interesting to note that the two end stations are now closed. Manchester Central is a notable exhibition arena which was known as the GMex Centre when it first opened in its new role. At this end of the line the trains now operate into Manchester Oxford Road station. At the Liverpool end the original Central station which was above ground, has closed although there is an underground station of the same name. In Liverpool the trains from the Urmston line now run into Lime Street station.
Urmston station was built by the Cheshire Lines Committee, a self-standing railway company with its own management that was owned by the Great Northern, Great Central and Midland Railways who had a third each. They joined together to compete in this part of Cheshire and Lancashire with the London & North Western Railway who were well ensconced in the area.
The station building was not used after the 1990s. One of the problems was that it was on the wrong side of the tracks as the centre of Urmston was on the other side.
The problem over there is that there is little room as the tracks are at a lower level than Flixton Road, the main street. Enough room for a small ticket office but no space to handle parcels collection and deliveries that needed same level road access.
It seems odd to me that the pub is named the Steamhouse rather than the Station House. The last steam train to stop here was on Saturday 16th April 1966. In fact there were three that lunchtime. I know because I was on all of them. In those days a lot of people worked a five and a half week and these trains were additional rush hour services.
I caught the 11.05 from Manchester Central to Urmston, then went back on a diesel train to Manchester to catch the 12.05 departure which I went through to Irlam on, stopping again at Urmston. Finally I picked up the last from Irlam, the 12.48 from Manchester, travelling to Warrington Central, the last steam train to stop at these stations, although they were passed by steam-hauled freight trains for a further year or so.
The Station House, which was actually a small ticket office, parcels and goods offices and the Station Master’s accommodation, was in danger of becoming derelict until it was leased by the present owners. It proudly opened as a pub on 30th June 2008. Back then it had four hand pumps so the commitment to cask ale was there. This was recognised when it was awarded CAMRA Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub of the Season Summer 2009.
On entering the main door we found the bar counter facing us on the left of the main room. On either side of this there are side rooms, the one on the right having a blazing fire.
This room also has wood panelling on the lower halves of the walls. It’s a very comfortable pub with lots more varnished wood. There are lots of posters and paintings on the walls.
We settled and then had a look at what was offered on the eight hand pumps. Our choice was Bank Top (Bolton) Flat Cap (4.2%) and their New Beer Resolutions (abv unknown), a special. There was also Wilson Potter (Middleton, Manchester) Gingerly Does it (3.5%); Lancaster (Lancaster) Amber (3.6%); Tom Wood’s (Barnetby, Lincolnshire) Best (3.5%) and Thwaites (Blackburn, Lancashire) Wainwright (4.1%). I think this beer is brewed by Marston’s, yet at what brewery is not known.
Finally we come to the most interesting two beers. They are from the RtwoDtoo Brewery. This is located in outhouses at this pub and opened during the summer of 2013. Interestingly they have two half-barrel (bbl) plants because of space constraints.
The two beers offered were Steam House Mild Manners (3.7%) and a brewery mix of a bitter with Mild which was a Pint of Mixed (4.3%). There are usually two RtwoDtoo beers.
This is another busy pub with a lot going on. Tuesday is Poker Night (19.45) and Thursday hosts Open Mic Night. On Sunday there is a carvery from 12.00 to 19.00. This is a family occasion so if you just want a quite pint you might want to avoid those hours.
However, unusually they are open early at weekends, please see times below. On Sundays there is also live music in the evening from 20.30.
This pub is well worth as it is easy to reach from Manchester, also Liverpool and Warrington. Add in that they serve some beers that are not available elsewhere makes it a very worthwhile destination.
The Steamhouse, Station Approach, Urmston, Greater Manchester. M41 9SB
Tel: 0161 748 6487
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 10.00-01.00; Sunday 10.00-24.00
Food is available: Monday to Saturday 11.00-21.00; Sunday 12.00-19.00 (Carvery)
The pub is on Urmston station. Should you arrive from the Manchester direction just walk around the building to the main entrance. From the Liverpool and Warrington direction you need to use the road bridge to get to the pub. Once out of the station, turn right and right again over the road bridge. Go down the steps on the right to the pub.
Don’t forget that you have to cross this bridge if you are returning to Manchester, so leave a full five minutes before the departure time.
Urmston Station is on the line from Manchester Oxford Road to Warrington Central and Liverpool. Mondays to Fridays and Sundays they are hourly and on Saturdays every half hour. They are operated by Northern Rail.
Urmston is served by many bus routes from many different directions.
These are routes 15, 22, 23, 245, 255, 268, 276 and 278.