The Real Ale Trail began its life as a popular treat for mild-mannered guys with a penchant for railways.
But police say the Trail, which gained popularity after being featured on the BBC’s Oz Clark and James May Drink to Britain series, is in danger of becoming a menace with drunken passengers causing chaos.
The trains run from Stalybridge to Batley and features a number of real ale pubs on or near railway stations. Inspector Richard Price from British Transport Police said: “We are becoming increasingly concerned over the behaviour of a number of people who are using the rail network to follow the Real Ale Trail over the past few months.
“We are receiving an increased number of reports of large groups of passengers travelling in a drunk and disorderly manner on services on a weekend. Beer glasses are being carried on to trains, people are urinating on platforms, the doors on trains are being held open disrupting services and trains are being damaged.
“We have also had reports of large groups of men heavily under the influence of alcohol running across the tracks and over crowding platforms compromising the safety of others.”
Officers say those taking part are not necessarily real ale enthusiasts and the trail is also being used merely as an occasion to drink to excess.
“Groups of revellers, including stag and hen parties, are following the trail during an afternoon and drinking a variety of very strong beers resulting in large numbers of drunken passengers,” Insp Price added.
“We do not want to spoil people having fun but this behaviour is now crossing the line and makes the journeys of other passengers and staff on the services an intimidating experience.
“It is only a matter of time before we have a major incident on our hands due to the reckless behaviour of some.”