THE Brighton Belle in Middlewich Road, Winsford is another pub that owes its existence to the railway that rumbles past its gable end, writes Paul Hurley.

Prior to 1841 it was a farmhouse, and the building that can be seen attached to the main pub was the barn, like most pubs built or adapted to serve the railway, it was called The Railway Hotel.

It was opened as such in 1841, with John Moore as the first landlord.

The years passed and the once quiet Middlewich Road became a busy route to the motorway.

The farmland was replaced by factory buildings as Winsford Industrial Estate was built behind it.

Many years before this, as art nouveau gave way to art deco, the bright young things demanded luxury and access to the fragrant airs of the seaside.

This was catered for by the provision of an opulent electric train service from London to Brighton. This train comprising of named Pullman coaches was called The Brighton Belle.

All things must come to an end however, and eventually the coaches that once carried royalty and the upper echelons of society to the seaside were surplus to requirements.

One of them called ‘Mona’ was purchased by Burtonwood Brewery in 1972 and brought to Winsford.

A short length of railway line was laid abutting the gable end of the Railway Hotel and the carriage placed upon it, the coach becoming part of the restaurant.

The pub’s name was changed to The Brighton Belle and Winsford had an instant tourist attraction.

This lasted until 1998 when the old carriage was taken away to be refurbished and returned to the railway for use on one of the prestigious classic trains.

n Paul’s latest book, written with Phil Braithwaite a Railway photographer, is the flagship book for the History Press commemorating 50 years since the end of steam on British Railways. Remembering Steam is on special offer at Amazon.