With widespread pub closures an issue of national concern, the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership supports dozens of real ale pubs through our Rail Ale Trail scheme.
The concept is simple – passengers stop at branch line stations to visit participating pubs, getting a stamp each time they buy a meal or a drink. Once their stamp sheet is complete, they can send off for a free Rail Ale Trail T-shirt.
Nearly 50,000 pub visits have been made since the launch of the project in 2002, with pubs quick to recognise the positive impact of the trails:
“The Rail Ale Trail has definitely been good for business – it brings groups here that wouldn’t have come otherwise.” – The Wig and Pen, Truro
“The custom from the Rail Ale Trail makes up a large part of our annual income – keep it up.” – The Mare and Foal, Yeoford
“The Trail continues to be a valuable source of new business.” – The Harbour Moon, West Looe
Equally importantly, the trails introduce new audiences to the branch lines. People from all over Britain and overseas regularly do the trails. International visitors come from as far and wide as the USA, New Zealand, Holland and Germany – including this friendly band of Americans sporting their St Ives Bay Line Rail Ale Trail T-shirts once back home in Chicago:
The trails also help support other businesses in the local area. For example, one Rail Ale Trail participant, John O’Connor from London, estimated that he and his eight friends had spent around £1,400 in Devon over a three-day stay on meals, drinks, rail fares and hotels.
In 2012, a new trail was launched with St Austell Brewery. The Great Cornish Rail Ale Trail features 20
St Austell Brewery pubs along the branch lines and mainline.
Plan your own trip on one of our seven Rail Ale Trails.