A PUB has been forced to close its doors after a major leak which owners say has been caused by 'ancient plumbing' around Reading Train Station.

The popular Reading Railway Pub has long stood at its Station Hill site, with owner Lorelei Leaver taking on the venue in 2019.

The owner said following an event on Wednesday, February 7, she was horrified to find that the men’s bathroom facilities had overflown making them unusable.

The damage and loss of facilities has forced Lorelei to make the difficult decision to close the pub's doors temporarily until repairs are made by Network Rail - who own the building.

Lorelei said: “It’s an absolute disaster. Because the pub is part of the railway station and the plumbing runs alongside the tracks we have been told that we aren’t allowed to deal with it ourselves.

“The plumbing really isn’t fit for purpose anymore. It’s part of the same system as Reading Train station which hasn’t been updated since 1891 when it opened. If their system is blocked because of the increasing number of people then we see the detrimental effects.

“Right now, we feel helpless. We are fighting against a big railway giant – Network Rail – to simply be able to function and it is so frustrating that nothing is being done to help us.”

Lorelei took over Reading Railway Pub in 2019 and has since battled through the difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

The plumbing issue, caused by a blockage in the station's system means that the pub, will result in a loss of at least four nights of revenue from pre booked music events according to Lorelei.

She added: “Through all the difficulties, I have found a way to thrive within the local community by hosting young musicians and opening the pub for vulnerable people who need somewhere to go.

"It feels like we are being stifled and we can’t do anything about it.”

Reading Railway pub is also well-loved venue within the town’s darts community according to the owner. However, without working facilities the pub will be forced to cancel an upcoming tournament next weekend and potentially lose their franchise.

Lorelei said the pub team has been in contact with The Arch Company who are currently subletting the building from the multi-national railway firm Network Rail.

A spokesperson for The Arch Company said: “We recognise the disruption that the blocked drains are causing the Reading Railway Club and we are working closely with Network Rail to ensure the issue is resolved as quickly as possible.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear about the issue at the Reading Railway Club. We are working closely with the landlord of the property, The Arch Company, to resolve the problem and will be meeting with the tenant to discuss the next steps.

"We take the tenant’s concerns seriously and will be working with all parties for a prompt resolution.”