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Vintage Trains Early 2018

Discussion in 'What's Going on' started by 1020 Shireman, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Active Member Friend

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    Don't think we have a thread going for VT in 2018. This is a request to Ben who is always honest and forthright on NP. I haven't had a reply to my email regarding our bookings on the first two Clun Castle Trains, nor my friend on our booking for the earlier Red Dragon on 10th March. Bearing in mind the WCRC position, can you please advise what the status of these trains is?

    Hope the Share Issue is going well. My long suffering wife and I have each bought our first block of 500 shares and will buy more in due course. Moreso after the official announcement of Saphos' idea of running steam hauled trains, this project needs and deserves to succeed.
     
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  2. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Well as it seems that VT may not be running steam charters anytime soon, then perhaps that is the reason there is a blank in 'What's Going On'.
     
  3. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Active Member Friend

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    Hence the request for clarification Al.
     
  4. bleeder4

    bleeder4 New Member

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    As I mentioned in the "WCRC scaling down" thread in the General forum, VT have removed all trips from their website. I booked on The Red Dragon before the WCRC news became public so I too would like some confirmation of the situation. I wish them the best of luck with their share offer and really hope to see them operating under their own steam (pardon the pun) later this year. Luckily for now there are the Saphos Trains trips + The Sulis and Sarum to satiate my steam appetite, but I think I'll only be making the trek to Crewe for the Saphos trips whilst the 50% offer is on, apart from special occasions.
     
  5. 26D_M

    26D_M Part of the furniture

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    Obviously hopes of an orderly transition from WC to own TOC operations were somewhat dashed by the rapidity, and unexpectedness, of the revision in WC policy as a third party operator.
     
  6. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I suspect it is all hands to be up and running for the Shakespeare's in their own right . All the best to them , just need to find the money to support them
     
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  7. alastair

    alastair Active Member

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    No they are still on the website, if you click on Shakespeare Express and then "book now" and then click on Heritage Trains the four main-line trips are apparently available to book. So are they running or not?

    Very confusing! I second the appeal to Ben to clarify ASAP.
     
  8. Hemerdon

    Hemerdon Member Friend

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    I suspect that if the tours have been taken offline then not all the links have been removed. I am booked on one of Clun’s tours and will be massively disappointed if the tour is no longer running on the planned date. Especially as the previous tour I booked with VT was also cancelled, due to TOC issues. The sooner an announcement is made on whether the tours are running or not the better, for all those having to make travel and accommodation arrangements as I do.
     
  9. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    From the latest HR ( received today) under the heading " Vintage Trains' dates remain in limbo" states " although discussions are ongoing between the parties in the hope that West Coast's decision might be reversed, Vintage Train's spokesman Ben Mason said nothing had been finalised as we closed for press hours before the festive break"
     
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  10. Kylchap

    Kylchap New Member

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    I'm in exactly the same position. The trip I was booked on last October was cancelled so I transferred the payment to a trip next April. I've heard nothing from VT. They will go down massively in my estimation if they don't clarify things very soon.
     
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Without knowing, I would guess that 'clarification' is exactly what VT is seeking currently and the moment they know, we will know. After all, that's their style. One could envisage that if 2018 will be a transition year when a full programme is not possible then they may focus on the summer Shakespeare programme. It is, after all, somewhere that both Castles can go with only one crew needed per outing.
     
  12. 6136

    6136 Member

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  13. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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  14. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Active Member Friend

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    Indeed. Mainline Program taken down. Details of the Shakespeare's are there. Makes sense.
    Time's flying. Only 140 days left to raise the £800k to secure the TOC. Can't find any indication yet of the amount raised to date. Ben??
     
  15. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    No surprise really, but I do feel sorry for everyone who has worked so hard to complete Clun Castle. It must be very frustrating that she will have to sit there in Tyseley for another six months or so, unable to venture out onto the main line. VT has handled the situation well - holding back until a decision had to be made but then immediately putting everything up on the website (and no doubt already starting to inform everyone who has bought tickets for the now-cancelled trains)

    I wish VT well. It's a blow to them to have to cancel the spring progamme, but I'm sure they will come bouncing back. It's rather sad that this means no Great Western steam at all on the main line for over half a year. Anyone wanting their fix of copper caps will have to be content with more gentle 25mph running at Bridgnorth, Minehead, Toddington, etc.
     
  16. Hemerdon

    Hemerdon Member Friend

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    Oh well at least it is confirmed now. Hopefully VT will be successful with their bid to become a TOC and we'll have an opportunity in the future to ride behind GW steam. Good luck to them in their quest.
     
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  17. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Active Member

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    Bit of a contrast between VT doing the right thing by their customers as soon as they reasonably concluded they wouldn't be able to meet their commitments, and their supplier keeping them dangling on whether they'd supply staff etc to enable the tour to run. Bit of a gulf in class in my view.
     
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  18. Ben Vintage-Trains

    Ben Vintage-Trains Active Member

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    The letter to the passengers should be delivered today (Friday) / tomorrow (dependent on the efficiency of the modern post office)

    The next steam trains for paying passengers will most likely be the Shakespeares starting in early July. This will be the 20th anniversary of Vintage Trains' Shakespeare Express and we plan to make it a memorable one using our own locos and maybe a guest or two.

    The share offer is going very well; we are on target to achieve our goals. There has been the occasional grumbling about the way we are raising the money. If someone can suggest a viable alternative, we are all ears!

    In the next few months when we are not running trains, we will concentrate on setting up the Train Operating Company and our Tyseley Loco Works engineering business. If you ever want to put the fear of god into the workshop, tell them Ben is walking around with a paint brush or worse....a spanner!

    We appreciate all the support and good will we have and continue to receive.

    Cheers!

    Ben - VT
     
  19. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Active Member Friend

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    Thanks very much Ben. Glad to see things looking good on all fronts. Roll on the summer and the sight and sound of Great Western Castles, the Hall and the Panniers back where they should be; at the head of a rake Chocolate and Cream Carriages on the mainline.
     
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  20. Kylchap

    Kylchap New Member

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    I received the apology and explanatory letter from VT over the weekend. In the circumstances they find themselves in, I think they've acted as promptly as one could expect. They also sent me the share offer. I'm not sure yet whether to direct some of my cash into this or keep it for supporting loco restorations and new-builds. It was interesting to read in the prospectus that they are planning to overhaul Defiant and thereby have three Castles to operate their expresses. I didn't realise this was the intention. I wonder if three will be enough in the future to ensure they always have one available when the mainline boiler certificates start to expire. 6023 brought into gauge, and/or Thornbury Castle, could give a bit more of a margin. :rolleyes:
     

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