Four trains an hour operated by Northern run between Sheffield and Barnsley for much of the day, two of which are relatively fast trains. There are stations inbetween at Meadowhall, Chapeltown, Elsecar and Wombwell – all places with real ale pubs!
The principal attractions at Meadowhall and Wombwell are Wetherspoon’s venues (the Steel Foundry and the Horseshoe, respectively) which need no introduction, so I will focus on the other stops along the line. Talking of Wetherspoon’s, the closest pub to Chapeltown station is one of theirs – the Wagon & Horses. The usual mix of national and local beers on the bar at reasonable prices are present and correct along with an all day food offering. Special events including meet the brewers and quiz nights also take place from time to time.
Walk down Station Road from here and you will come to a long established Good Beer Guide regular, the Commercial. This is a classic multi roomed pub with a lounge, snug and games room plus an upstairs function room. A central bar services all three rooms and offers a great range of ales and cider. Simple home cooked food is available at meal times. Special events take place throughout the year including beer festivals and whisky tastings and there is always a great friendly atmosphere created by the landlord, staff and regulars.
On to Elsecar, where the hill from the station down to the village centre is host to a number of traditional pubs serving real ale and a pub crawl is possible here! Options include the Crown Inn, Fitzwilliam Arms, Milton Arms and the Market Hotel. Twice a year (May and September) Barnsley CAMRA hosts a beer festival in Elsecar to tie in with other festivities taking place.
Our last stop, Barnsley, offers a conveniently compact mini pub crawl from the station (leave via the bridge through the bus/train Interchange concourse then turn left into the town centre). There is a Victorian-style pedestrian thoroughfare lined with shops known as the Arcade and if you walk through here you will find the Arcade Alehouse, a great micropub with a choice of real ales and craft beers served by friendly staff. There is also a balcony upstairs looking out over the arcade.
When you pop out the other end of the Arcade and cross the main road you will find Acorn Brewery’s tap – the Old No 7 bar showcasing a range of their beers, plus a few guests. Occasionally special events take place downstairs in the cellar bar. Next door is another real ale outlet, the Joseph Bramah – another Wetherspoon’s pub with all the usual features.
A South Yorkshire Connect+ day ticket costs £7.90 and offers unlimited travel by bus, train and tram anywhere in South Yorkshire. Alternatively, an off-peak return from Sheffield to Barnsley costs £5.40 (or £3.55 with a railcard). Other great local destinations for pubs reachable by train include Dronfield & Chesterfield, the Hope Valley and Worksop – however they are for future instalments! Next month, we will be on the buses.