Newnham Station was situated in a cutting on the north west edge of the town. It was originally opened for passengers when the Gloucester to Chepstow section of the South Wales Railway was completed in September 1851. The New Inn was to nearest pub to the station but visitors to Newnham arriving by train would have walked past the Railway on their way to the town. The pub catered for train passengers until the station was closed in November 1964.
F. Jones is listed as the owner of the Railway Inn in 1891 and 1903 and it was beer house with no brewery tie. The annual rateable value was £18.0s.0d. and closing time was at 11 pm.
The Railway Inn had a restaurant called Carriages which was in a room above the main pub. Carriages Restaurant was featured in an ‘eating out’ review in July 2007 and was summed up by ‘it might not offer haute cuisine but the food was thoughtful, well-cooked and reasonably priced, perfect for when you don’t feel like cooking. Although it was the beginning of the week the pub still had a fine atmosphere and the service was warm and friendly.’ Mention was also made of the Railway’s pizza which ‘are fast gaining a reputation in Newnham on Severn, not least because they can be ordered as takeaways, a rare treat for a small village.’
Adrian Eyles and Kathleen Croft ran the Railway Inn in the late 1990’s. It was a free house. Kathleen said, “It’s very much a traditional pub with stone-flagged floors in both bar areas but we do a lot of good home-cooked food, so we are about to open a 40-seat restaurant upstairs.” Adrian left the Railway in 2000 to run the Ship Inn in the village.
When cider enthusiast David Price took over the Railway, he tried to take the record for the biggest selection of cider in a pub. In June 2004 he said, “It is important to keep our local brews available such as perry produced from Blakeney Red Pear trees, and it is possible to do this now that so many are being bottled.” His well-stocked cellar housed 35 different types of cider. Five traditional ciders were on draught on the bar, with one being featured as ‘Cider of the Wik’. By 2008 David had amassed an amazing 60 ciders and perries. His devotion to the cause of preserving traditional ciders was rewarded by the Gloucestershire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale with the Railway being named their Cider Pub of The Year in 2007 and 2008. Dave said, “It’s good to be recognised for our range. We have some fantastic locally made varieties like Severn Cider made by Nick Bull and Cadogans, which are both made in Awre. We have one called Tosher’s Tipple from Pleasant Stile near Littledean and there is even one maker in Drybrook called Dave Burson, who preserves an orchard of old apple varieties, and his Hare Church cider is marvellous.”
The Railway Inn was declared Gloucestershire CAMRA’s Cider Pub of the Year again in 2013 when Dave beat off strong competition from the Jolly Brewmaster in Cheltenham. Dave said, “It’s nice to have it back.” He regained the distinction of best Gloucestershire CAMRA cider pub for the next four consecutive years.
Just before Christmas in 2017 Dave closed the doors of the Railway Inn. There were a number of factors that him to this decision, but the overriding reason was that Dave’s doctor had told him that he had to change his lifestyle. Some residents had also complained about the noise from fans at the back of the pub which resulted in the enforcement of a noise abatement order. Dave said, “You have people who move near a pub and complain about the noise. Staggering.” Parking at the pub was also a problem with patrons being told they could not use the empty car park opposite the pub. Another factor was the re-positioning of the bus stop near the clock tower to the end of the village, causing problems for Dave’s elderly regulars who had to climb up a hill to reach the pub. Dave said, “I was going to sell it and retire but the sale fell through so sadly I have decided to close the doors for now. Christmas is good for the books but it’s a lot of extra work for me.”
The Railway Inn was put up for sale in January 2018 with an asking price of £450,000. It has since re-opened under new ownership and, essentially not much has altered. It still has an impressive range of ciders. A Flowers Ales plaque that was once in situ by the front entrance is now on display inside along with an impressive collection of local photographs, stone jars, railway paraphernalia and other miscellany. The Railway has a juke box almost entirely devoted to classic rock. With the combination of cider and loud rock music the Railway is very much a down to earth locals pub.
Landlords at the Railway Inn include:
1891,1903 Charles Edward Jones
1939 Miss Ellen Selina Jones
2000 Adrian and Kathy Eyles
2001 Stuart Handscombe
2007,2008 Dave and Karen Price