(Google Maps link)
|Previous operators:||Station Supreme, Malthurst|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.|
Little Chef Wiki
Now a closed service station, Rainton used to be a large dual sided Little Chef site and before that a Happy Eater. However, a motorway upgrade got in the way and forced the services to close.
Rainton Services were built in the 1970s by Station Supreme as a dual-sided service station with each side sporting a filling station and a café under the Station Supreme brand. Where the northbound café opened inside of a large, distinctive building with a sloping metal roof, the southbound café opened inside of a basically designed building with a flat packed roof.
In the 1980s, the services were bought by Happy Eater who replaced the two cafés with Happy Eater restaurants. In the process, the original southbound café was demolished in order to make way for a more modern building with the 70s/80s Happy Eater design, meaning that although both sides traded as Happy Eater restaurants, they looked completely different. The filling station on the southbound side was also demolished but the filling station on the northbound side was kept by Happy Eater.
In 1995, Forte bought the two Happy Eaters at the services and replaced them with Little Chef restaurants as part of their quest of converting all Happy Eaters into Little Chefs. It was said that Little Chef at the time was more profitable than Happy Eater so it therefore made sense for Little Chef to take over the restaurants at the services. In order to reflect the Little Chef brand, the metal roof of the northbound building was painted bright red.Owing to its prime location beside the busy A1, Forte wasted no time in adding a Little Chef Coffee Stop to the northbound restaurant in the mid 90s. The Coffee Stop was however very short lived and was soon replaced with a Burger King when Granada took over Little Chef in 1995/96.
In 2004, Little Chef's owners at the time, Permira, decided to close the southbound Little Chef in order to focus on the longer established Little Chef branch at Sinderby, less than 10 miles north. However, a complete U-Turn was made in 2005 when new Little Chef owners, The People's Restaurant Company, happily reopened the southbound Little Chef, opting instead to close Sinderby.
In 2006, a Coffee Tempo! outlet was built alongside the Little Chef on the northbound side.
In 2008, there were plans to upgrade the A1 between Dishforth and Leeming Bar to motorway which also involved widening the road which would take up Rainton Services as part of the expansion. For a while it looked like a new MSA would be built here, but plans never materialised as the owners, Malthurst, were more interested in a site near the A61. Consequently, the southbound services were compulsory purchased as part of the roadworks, therefore the Little Chef on site closed in late 2008/early 2009 and was demolished soon after as the first part of the widening took place. As there were no plans to save the northbound services, it looked like a complete end to Rainton Services. In late 2009, the Little Chef, Burger King and Coffee Tempo! on the northbound side ceased trading and the main building then left boarded up. The last to go was the Texaco petrol station which closed on 3 January 2010, marking the end of Rainton Services. Given that Rainton North was one of Little Chef's busiest sites the closure must have been a real blow.
Rainton has since been vandalised and is slowly falling to ruin, and has been visited by a few "Urban Explorers". 28 Days Later hosts pictures of its current state (February 2015).