After many years as Buffet Steward on-board the trains, volunteer and RSR Director Chris Mills has retired from service. At the same time volunteer Eunice Mahaffey is also retiring at the end of 2016. 


Chris, who was one of the original stewards in the early days at Steamport Southport had been astounded that the Buffet Car now running at the Ribble Steam Railway was not being used, after all it is a great income source for any volunteer heritage railway. After convincing others that it could be brought back into public service, Chris sorted out a range of stock to sell on-board. There was no gas bottles underneath the coach in the early re-incarnation and large bulky flasks had to be continuously filled with hot water. It was very basic and the range wasn't much more than Vending Machine type Teas and Coffees, Cans or Cartons of pop drinks and crisps. Things started well but needed improvement.

As the Buffet Car had awkward fitting shelves it was obvious it had been fitted as a mini-bar with optics and small size bottles, not helping with its new use. One thing was noticeable was its growing popularity among new customers and returning regulars. It is a great focal point to chat to visitors and find out where they have traveled from, giving a much more friendly face to retail operations. The only thing now getting a bit much was manning every event day on ones own as other members had not shown an interest in duties.

The cafe had then had a change of staff and Eunice was invited to join Chris on-board, having had catering & retailing experience. One of the best moves that was ever made as the team gelled instantly and ideas for new lines, stock and the management of regulations was easily sorted. Chris, having been a fully trained cellarman and retired Publican came up with a small and interesting range of bottle beers to try out with the customers, instantly becoming a hit in 2016 to the point of various well chosen lines instantly selling out. The range of cakes, biscuits and wines was added by Eunice as well as choices of hot drinks, made much easier now on service with a fully fitted hot water boiler. Duties were shared between the two until Chris suffered slight ill-health and Eunice took on far much more than most volunteers would have endured. 


We are hoping to find fine new shiny younger volunteer staff for you to meet and get to know from 2017 forwards, with Chris taking a back seat but staying as overall Manager, continuing to chose good sensibly priced stock and passing on years of experience to others. The Bottled Real Ale range will continue to be developed and included in forthcoming Rail Ale guides as well as ensuring a good and reasonably priced range of items for families and youngsters alike.

If you are interesting in this area of the Railway's Operation - contact Chris - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


© Ribble Steam Railway 2018