FROM the moment Tyseley unveiled its newly overhauled flagship locomotive No. 7029 Clun Castle at the end of October, fans of the Collett 4-6-0 began to ask when the famous BR(W) ‘Castle’ will double-head with sister No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on the main line.
The answer could be regarded as bitter-sweet, as the two ‘Castles’ will take to the main line together very soon, but the general public will not get the opportunity to travel behind them until at least 2021.
Because Tyseley is exclusively saving that privilege for founding shareholders of the all-new Vintage Trains Community Benefit Society (CBS), the only publicly owned main line railway company in Great Britain operating steam-hauled express trains.
Three million £1 shares in the new CBS went on sale on December 6 in what Tyseley believes is the first new British public main line railway company share issue offered in more than 100 years, probably since the formation of the Great Central Railway in 1897.
The aim of the share offer is simple: to provide the funding required that will enable Tyseley to set itself up as a wholly independent, British, publicly-owned Train Operating Company (TOC), the application for which has already been submitted to the Office of Road and Rail (ORR).
In order to achieve this, the CBS has a six-month window to raise a minimum of £800,000 before the offer closes on May 31. Shares are available at a minimum subscription of £500, or a maximum of £100,000.
Amounts must be bought in blocks of 500 shares.
Before Vintage Trains (VT), which is a subsidiary of the CBS, can begin operation of its own trains without the need of a third-party TOC, it must satisfy the ORR it has the necessary resources, staff and capital.
The £800,000 will therefore provide that required cash flow to support VT during its initial solo-operating period until the company can generates its own trading income.
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