Yesterday I had one of the great half-hours in a pub in unsung Newtown. Until the Wi-Fi died I wrote it up in the new and very decent Wetherspoons, which is as far from the Railway Tavern in feel as it’s possible to get.

The Railway has an unprepossessing exterior straight from the Welsh Valleys, in contrast to the impressive buildings round the corner.

Railway Tavern – the Carling sign screams “classic”

On my first visit on a busy Saturday afternoon three years ago something clicked with me, making this a place I’ve long wanted to return to.  I thought I’d missed my chance today as I left the station after the 2pm the Beer Guide declared to be closing time.

The venerable Eileen, however, wasn’t turning down custom,  or chat, and stayed open long enough for me to enjoy the beer of the year, a Salopian Bends (NBSS 4.5). Salopian have swiftly established themselves as one of my favourite brewers this year, though of course they rely on proper pubs like this to deliver their beer at its best.

Clun, Whoosh, Bends

Almost as good was the Worthington’s, the pub’s cask mainstay that I remembered with affection.  It’s no Bass, but an easy drinking classic. On a busier lunchtime I’d have drunk it in the classic bench seating, but when you’re invited to chat you sit at the bar (yes I know what I said last week).


I won’t betray Eileen’s confidences, but she clearly adores good beer, likes the CAMRA folk (a rarity I’m finding !) and knows the importance of a clean public house. I coud have chatted to her all day.

Dave the Landlord

This is a small pub, but there’s a lot going on, all of it good if often irreverent.  I have no idea what on earth is on that second-from-top shelf below.

Some things you don’t see every day there

QUIZ TIME – Inevitably I have to ask, what is that ?

The red banquettes, “décor”, flowers and sensible beer range reminded me very much of Leighton Buzzard’s Red Lion, but the quality of the beer and the pubby chat just edge the Railway in front.

Newtown does at least retain it’s railway station, but a budget hotel of any variety could turn this into a genuine beery short break territory.  Along with that good Spoons (Woods Parish NBSS 3) there’s Monty’s tap, the Sportsman. May Elileen and Dave never retire though.


  1. Never been round Newtown at all, although often driven through. Will have to give it a go some time. Railway Tavern sounds brilliant.


    1. You (and Simon) would love it. Not a pub you’d expect much from walking past. I compared it to the Leighton Buzzard’s Red Lion but that south Leics Plough with the Bass would have been another good comparator.


  2. Is it the item with the yellow handle we are trying to identify? If so, I would say that the head is identified by the model telephone box. The handle looks like it is designed to be squeezed, probably to set off a lever like motion through the shaft to operate whatever is on the head. I would have a guess at a litter picker.

    I’ve never visited the network of the Cambrian Railway. When I do come round to visiting Newton, I shall pop into the Railway. It looks like a proper friendly local, almost South Yorkshire ish.


    1. The yellow handle isn’t quite what I had in mind Tom, but a careful analysis of your answer suggests you may know that. That’s all I’m saying.

      Yes, I’d say the Railway is very Rotherham, perhaps Greasborough like.


      1. I am genuinely unsure as to what the mystery item is. Going along the second shelf from the top, we have the lighters, then some syrupy thing, which could be the item in question, if so I’d suggest it is a local, probably highly alcoholic, slightly stouty mix for coughs and the like, I suspect Si would love it. We then have some ornaments, one of which appears to be a wind up toy but I shudder to think what the bloke does when you wind the key.


      2. Martin,
        I presume you are talking about the Prince of Wales in Greasborough
        I did the pub on 22nd March 2014 while doing all pubs in Greasborough 8 and a walk round Kimberworth where i did 10 pubs plus four more in Rotherham.
        The Prince of Wales looks like a right old dump,but the Pheasantry Tank Ale went down a treat,far better than in the better looking Ship which was close by and had John Smiths Extra Cold Crap on the bar.
        Lots of proper estate pubs done on that crawl,so well pleased.


  3. I went in here today, but for whatever reason it didn’t quite do it for me in the same way as it did for you. Maybe Dave isn’t as chatty as Eileen. Would be better if busier.

    The Worthington was fine, but it’s a beer I think I would struggle to ever give more than NBSS 3.


    1. Won’t hold that against you, would be no fun if we all had the same experience. Busier pubs always best though. The Worthington was a throwback, the Salopian was superb.

      Will you bump into Simon on his Welsh trip ?


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