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You can now take a ‘booze train’ that serves pints as you travel through the countryside

If you’ve been wondering whether the whole ‘train travel’ thing could be a bit less stressful and hectic with a pint in hand, then this is the journey for you.

'Booze train' in British countryside
Credit: The Watercress Line

Yes, a now local legend, the Real Ale Train, is returning to the Hampshire countryside this year. Those lucky enough to embark on the idyllic-sounding odyssey through the Great British outdoors will chug off from Alton railway station near Farnham.

The Real Ale Train (RAT) will then pootle its way down The Watercress Line (yes, really) while pints and halves of real ale are served to customers from the bar cart.

Local Hampshire breweries and others from surrounding counties will be on the menu, with pints priced at £4 and half pints at £2. Those who book in advance will receive a free pint token with their train ticket.

Excitingly, three dates have already been announced for the RAT, with the first journey taking place on 18 February. Subsequent trains will depart on 18 and 25 March.

The RAT will depart from Alton station at 7pm on all three dates, making its way to Alresford by 7.40pm, where travellers will be able to purchase food from the West Country Buffet.

After two round trips of The Watercress Line, the train will make its final stop back at Alton at 10.30pm, in time for connecting serviced back to London and other cities in the South.

The Real Ale Train experience tends to sell out quickly, so those who wish to embark on an ale-fuelled jaunt in the Hampshire countryside are advised to book without delay.

The price per compartment – which seats six – is £150 and includes six free pint vouchers. Adults can also purchase a single ticket, priced at £20.

And there is more good news on the horizon for lovers of train travel and high quality tipples.

HS1  – which operates the UK leg of the Channel Tunnel railway line – has unveiled plans to open a new route from the nation’s capital straight to the vineyards of Bordeaux. Read more on that story here.

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