A PUB which dates back several decades is to undergo a name change ahead of re-opening next month after a near quarter-of-a-million-pound revamp.

The Railway Hotel, at the junction of Haddington’s Court Street, Station Road and Hope Park, closed its doors earlier this month ahead of a £230,000 refurbishment.

The work is aimed at improving the pub’s layout for the serving of food.

It is not just the inside of the hotel that will be different, though, with ‘The Railway’ making way for ‘The Bell’.

The new name has already been questioned by some.

The renaming is a nod back in time, with The Bell, which was based on Haddington High Street, one of the first ever pubs in the town.

The Railway’s current name comes from its location near to the town’s old railway line, which closed in 1949.

Ian McCutcheon, who lives in the town, will be joined by Peter Connor and Geoff Rowan in taking charge of the business, with six members of the existing team also remaining at the pub.

Greene King, which owns the pub, confirmed it would undergo a name change.

A spokeswoman said: “We are pleased to confirm a significant refurbishment is under way at The Railway Hotel.

“We are aiming to reopen the pub in August under its new name of The Bell.

“The name was chosen in agreement with our new partner after studying the names of historical pubs in the area.

“We look forward to being able to give more information about this exciting investment in the coming weeks.”

Gary McFarlane and Michael Pisanek took over The Railway Hotel in July 2016 from long-standing publican Hamish Colgan but confirmed they were stepping down ahead of the revamp.

Mr McFarlane, who has lived in Haddington all his life, had been excited about taking over the venue but had to step back due to ill health.

He told the Courier: “I have to say coming out of The Railway we have not been able to fulfil our ambitions but health comes first and is more important than ambitions at the end of the day. We finished last Sunday but we have been hanging about doing paperwork and finishing things off.

“Now the refurbishment is well and truly under way.

“It is sad, very sad for us, but I think it was time for us to come out.”

Mr Colgan, who lives on nearby Hope Park, ran the popular pub for almost three decades.

He had previously been in charge at The Brig Inn in Tranent, as well as running pubs in Musselburgh and Mayfield, in Midlothian.

However, it was while drinking in The Railway Hotel with his friend Bert Logan that he decided to take over The Railway.

Paul Darling, from the town’s community council, was confused by the choice of name.

He said: “The Bell… that sounds different.

“I don’t think it will go down particularly well in some quarters.”

He suggested alternative names connected to the agricultural surroundings of the town would have proved more popular and questioned the need to change the name in the first place.