Vintage Trains has launched an £800,000 share offer to raise funds for its long-awaited Train Operating Company.
800,000 shares in the Vintage Trains Community Benefit Society, priced at £1 each, went on sale on December 1, with the intention of raising enough working capital for the first three years of the mooted TOC.
Once formed, this will enable VT to run its own main line railtours, including the popular ‘Shakespeare Express’ services, without having to rely on the likes of West Coast Railways, which is scaling back its services for some third-party organisations (see Down Main, SR474).
VT needs to raise at least £800k by the time the share offer closes on May 31 2018 but, says VT spokesman Ben Mason: “We are asking for a total of £3 million by the end of May 2018.
This sum will enable us to accomplish many necessary things including upgrading the carriages, a new on-board café and shop, access for all and fit toilet retention tanks throughout the Vintage Trains fleet.
“We will also construct a new Kitchen Car so we can improve the dining offerings to you our passengers throughout the train. The carriages will remain in the familiar chocolate & cream livery that has become a trade mark of Vintage Trains.”
Founders Club members will be offered exclusive seats on five special trains throughout the first three years, featuring double-headed, double-chimney ‘Castles’ – a feat now possible thanks to the recent overhaul of No. 7029 Clun Castle in October.
Mr Mason says: “The first will be in autumn 2018 with additional trains in 2019 and 2020. This will be the only opportunity to experience travel behind this pairing of iconic locomotives; tickets on these trains will not be made available for public sale.”
The minimum share subscription per person is 500x £1 shares, the maximum being 100,000x £1 shares.