What is billed as the first publicly-owned British railway company to be created in a century has been launched by Tyseley-based Vintage Trains as a major and ambitious step in the expansion of its Vintage Trains railtour arm.
The public is being offered the chance to buy community shares – minimum subscription £500, maximum £100,000 – in the new company, Vintage Trains Community Benefit Society, which aims to raise £3 million from the share offer.
The first 2000 members who subscribe to the share offer, will be enrolled in the Founders Club, and given the unique opportunity to travel behind double-headed double-chimney Castles in the form of WR 4-6-0 No. 7029 Clun Castle and GWR 4-6-0 No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.
Such a tour will not be repeated before 2021 and these tickets will not be available for individual sale to the public.
Vintage Trains has been running main line tours for more than three decades, but up to now it has had to use an outside Train Operating Company like West Coast Railways. The new company has applied to become a TOC in its own right, using the money subscribed via the share offer.
As such, not only will it have total control over its trains – it already supplies the locomotive and carriages for its tours – but will be able to act as TOC for other companies, and expand into freight haulage if required. It will also have the role of operating newly-restored Tyseley flagship Clun Castle on its eagerly-awaited first main line trips in 2018.
Vintage Trains Limited will be a trading subsidiary that will be owned by the society, and will operate its steam and diesel tours.
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