A REAL ale bar on the East Lancashire Railway, which has been open just over a year, has been awarded Pub of the Year by a tourism group.

The Buffer Stops Bar at Rawtenstall Station launched in June last year and recently came runner-up in the East Lancashire Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) awards.

The bar has now received the top pub award from I Love Rossendale, a social enterprise working alongside groups like Rawtenstall Town Team and Rossendale’s Heritage and Tourism Board with the aim of boosting visitor numbers to the borough. Andrew Thomas, of I Love Rossendale, said: “Our awards are done by walking in and critically judging the place.

“The staff at the Buffer Stops are second to none, exceeding friendliness. They also supply home brewed beers, and the choice they do is above and beyond.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the best place to drink in Rossendale.”

The cosy bar set in the terminus station in Bury Road has been recognised for supporting local breweries and offering a wide selection of cask ales, real ciders, lagers and continental beers, as well as traditional pub snacks and locally-sourced homemade pies.

The venue also has a large outdoor seating area overlooking the line where the heritage engines steam into the station, and a family room that was once the waiting area.

Andy Morris, general manager of the East Lancashire Railway, said: “The response we've had to the Buffer Stops has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“Rossendale locals and casual visitors have taken to our little jewel in their droves and business is booming.

“Great credit must go to Michelle Morris and her small team in delivering a great offering, a fantastic atmosphere and a real ale venue to rival any in the county.

“The ELR is tremendously proud to have attracted recognition from I Love Rossendale and CAMRA and we will work hard to try and ensure we figure in their deliberations again next year.”