Published on September 3rd, 2019 | by Alastair Gilmour0
The waiting is over
The trains are running on time and the new micropub at Hexham Station has finally arrived. The Platform Bar was originally in Heather and Gary Scott’s minds in 2016 but it’s been well worth the wait.
The couple run High House farm Brewery near Matfen, Northumberland, so the new bar is stocked with the likes of Nel’s Best, Sundancer, Matfen Magic and Auld Hemp cask ales. Gary is a joiner so he’s been responsible for the fabric of the building and its fixtures and fittings. It’s a real family affair with Heather taking her turn on the Platform Bar rota while overseeing the extremely popular wedding business – alongside daughter Lizzie – while son Andrew manages the pub, helped by his cousin Dan Bell.
Hexham railway station is a Grade II listed building and dates back to 1835. The extensive list of restoration work involved reinstating many of the waiting room’s original features – refurbishing the fireplace, restoring the original clock above the doorway and filling in missing cornicing.
A traditional railway-style sign hangs over the door so travellers on the Newcastle to Carlisle line are left in no doubt as to what lies within.
The pew bench-style seating is original so it had to stay intact. In fact, the bar is built over a section of it. And it’s a case of “spot the difference” in places where small timber panels have had to be replaced. Décor is cream with what can only be described as “detail by British Rail red”.
Heather Scott says: ”It’s going really well and we’ve had good feedback – the most used phrase is ‘it’s got a homely feel’ which I’ve taken as a compliment.
“We wanted to keep some of the original function as a first-class waiting room and Gary has done a great job which he’s very proud of – but working on a listed building is a nightmare.”
Dan Bell says: “We’re targeting morning commuters by opening at 7am for coffees. We’re licensed from 10am and get busy with beer drinkers from around 2pm until the last one leaves.”
Trains run between Newcastle and Carlisle every hour. Study the timetable; you could even catch the same one on the way back.