Aaron Stone

If any confirmation were needed of the increasing popularity of the Avon Valley Railway, it comes with the appointment of our second full-time employee.

Aaron Stone moved to the Railway at the start of the 2004 season to take up the newly established post of catering Manager so, by way of introduction, we asked about his background in catering.

"I discovered an aptitude for the catering industry through doing part-time jobs as an impoverished student at University. Over the years I worked my way up, learning the skills I needed from practical experience and good mentors, which enabled me ho become a kitchen manager for a national restaurant chain. Other managerial posts followed but, when the opportunity to work at the Avon Valley Railway came up, I was really interested. I was particularly attracted by the very positive attitude at the Railway and what had been achieved. It was easy to see the enormous possibilities for the organisation as a whole and in particular, for expanding the catering potential".

Aaron has ambitious plans for the next twelve months.

"Through new catering ideas, I feel that we can bring in more visitors to the Railway - which will improve our income and enable us to expand. We've already experimented with a Bitton Bistro service on an evening run, providing two courses of traditional, home cooked food plus coffee and a choice from our own wine menu. Based on the very positive reaction we had to this I'd like to see the Bitton Bistro complement our already successful Steam 'n' Cuisine service."

"In the Buffet the autumn and winter months wilt see the return of the Lunchtime Specials; home-made flans, pies and soups - which we tried out successfully earlier in the year. We're switching to a wider range of sandwiches and the option of healthier salads. At Christmas, the plan is to provide a two-course Christmas lunch on twelve of the days we're not running Santa Specials. The lunches will be prepared in the Kitchen Car and served on board the train as it sits in the station. I'm convinced that they'll be a very popular alternative for office Christmas outings".

And beyond that?

"We need to increase our customer base ready for the completion of the new buffet and, with that in mind, new services and events are in the pipeline. The major aim is to build on our reputation for good value, home-cooked food - and, with everyone's help, I think that we've made a good start in that direction already."

The expanding waistlines of our train crews would bear witness to that!

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This page last updated by Tony Wray on 29/10/2004.