If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Past Time Rail

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by acorb, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    1,787
    Location:
    Powys
    It has been reported by Ian Riley 'elsewhere' that Past Time Rail have ceased trading today owing to 'recent market trends'. I must admit that i'm totally astounded by this as they are one of the longest running charter companies who can trace their heritage right the way back to the start of mainline steam through the sadly departed Bernard Staite and have always been professionally run. As yet their website is showing no sign of problems but as someone who has worked closely with Past Time for a number of years I am sure Ian is correct and has probably heard directly from Andy and Jo. This I have no doubt will have major implications through the rest of the industry not least of which the future of the highly popular 'Torbays'. With the recent loss of Bernard the family really are having a torrid time of it and i'm sure I and many others will want to wish them all the best wherever they go from here. The recession was always likely to claim a victim but i'm not sure many would have seen this coming. No doubt someone else will shed further light on this..
     
  2. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,094
    Likes Received:
    5,678
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It is hoped that the Torbays will be running, but with another operator. Beyond that, I don't know what is happening.
     
  3. 60124Kenilworth

    60124Kenilworth New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Featherstone West Yorkshire
    This is devastating news,PTR have always been to the forefront where charter train operation was concerned and was professionally run by Bernard,then Andy and Jo.Things won't be the same again I'm afraid,we were booked on most of the Torbays and several other tours and only yesterday I e-mailed a booking for the Plymouth trip on 8th August,although,this was because I couldn't get through by phone,which I thought most unusual at the time,obviously the reason is now becoming apparent.Both Mark and I send our commiserations to Andy and Jo and hope that something good comes out of it all eventually,although for us the relaxed atmosphere of Andy's trips with all the camaraderie with the stewards and fellow regular passengers will be hard to replace in my opinion.
     
  4. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,910
    Likes Received:
    1,387
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Shocking considering PTR didn't show any obvious signs of being in trouble, unlike certain other promoters
     
  5. BillR

    BillR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,556
    Likes Received:
    43
    A quote from Rail Tour News...........

    Sad news, but I hope the above is of some help to someone.
     
  6. mousesteam

    mousesteam New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Very sad news indeed , I totally agree with all of Alan,s comments above
     
  7. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    34,332
    Likes Received:
    8,275
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired-ish, Part time rail tour steward.
    Location:
    Northwich
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It is indeed sad news about a company who I would guess that most of us thought had everything going for them. They certainly always seemed to be on top of the job whenever i booked and travelled with them.
     
  8. Alberta 45562

    Alberta 45562 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    4,890
    Likes Received:
    560
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Simulator Developer
    Location:
    Cudworth,Barnsley
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There was NO BETTER TOUR COMPANY than PTR and there never will be simple as that....
    This is a true disaster for the railtour movement,i have had many a happy railtour with PTR since childhood and the laughs,the mates and everything else will be hard to replace,in fact i don't think you could.

    Commiserations to all at PTR and thanks for the memories.... :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  9. LN850

    LN850 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    1
    I dont get how past time rail and ukrailtours are different, please could someone explain?

    in the bright side, for those of us in Eastleigh we arent missing any tours.
     
  10. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,094
    Likes Received:
    5,678
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Train Maintainer for GTR at Hornsey
    Location:
    Letchworth
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    PTR were taking the bookings for UKR for a while, but now John Farrow has taken the bookings back in house.
     
  11. Stu in Torbay

    Stu in Torbay Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2005
    Messages:
    2,829
    Likes Received:
    42
    Occupation:
    GPS Navigation Engineer
    Location:
    Goodrington Bank, Paignton
    A great shame. They worked very hard to give many people a lot of enjoyment. I would love to think that maybe, one day Past Time Rail will come back, but for now - thank you Jo and Andy, your company is a true credit to the railtour profession. Damn this recession. ](*,)
     
  12. Live Steam

    Live Steam Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Operations Manager
    Location:
    Anywhere and Everywhere.
    We're running outta tour organisers!!
     
  13. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,910
    Likes Received:
    1,387
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    One thing that does worry me in that respect is that true "one off" tours will be in short supply now, Steam Dreams, WCRC, Vintage Trains etc tend to stick to repeat runs or not venture too far from base, RTC and what other operators there i've missed tend to see more of the infamous red ink on UKSteam than those that run currently, so who does that leave for the occasional adventurous one-off, Pathfinder ?, RTC has the potential the fill the gap left by PTR but needs to up it's sucess rate first.

    I hope Andy & Jo can get back into "the scene" in some form or another in future.

    Also thinking about it, that's another predominnantly DBS operator that bit the dust, be interesting to see what percentage of the steam market runs under WCRC's safety case now.
     
  14. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    9,223
    Likes Received:
    7,358
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alderan !
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It's interesting that we lots of outpouring of sentiment on this thread and whilst i'm saddened lets look at this from a more fundamental perspective

    in the last 12 months both Kingfisher and now one of the longest established players and probably biggest tour operator in Past Time have ceased trading . Further back the old pathfinder similarly ceased trading and XL railtours nver got out of the blocks .

    Both Past time and Kingfisher had regular routine tours which seemed to fill well and should have provided a good income assuming the tours were properly priced .

    Who would want to be a tour operator , all of the risk and practically none of the rewards . Everyone else gets paid and you get whats left . Whilst I disagree with Tbird in some of his postings his views on railtours I tend to concur with . Whilst steam may not be banned from the main line , the economics of it are at best going to marginalise it into regular similar itiniary tours that become almost a self contained operation . Scarborough's , Shakespeares , Jacobits , Fellsman and Torbays and The Cathedrals out of London . Beyond that thinsg now egt very interesting

    Also with Past Times demise you've lost say 20-30 tours from the market , which is lost work for engines that I cannot see other operators picking up so the economics of keeping some loco's on the main line now change . 6024 was particularly a past time engine , as was 6201 . Furthermore Past time used DBS more than other operators so does that precipitate a slow withdrawal by DBS from the steam market
     
  15. Tracklayer

    Tracklayer Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    7,484
    Likes Received:
    2
    Occupation:
    Employed
    I dont think DBS will leave the steam market all together. They have a big and still fairly strong contract with Orient Express, and while steam jobs are only 30 or so per year, they come with a hell of a lot of diesel hauled trips.
     
  16. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    5,200
    Likes Received:
    2,994
    It's a bit early to speculate as to the cause of Past Time's demise but as it is in the Nat. Pres. tradition; what's the betting that the catalyst was the withdrawal of their credit line by the bank? That seems to be the cause of many small businesses sinking at the moment. I will miss them. Bernard was involved with the very first steam mainline tour in the preservation era that I travelled on.
     
  17. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    468
    Location:
    Bath
    Maybe Andy and Jo will be behind the new Torbay company - certainly economically the regular trips are increasingly the way to go - far easier to fill, cheaper to put on (fewer light engine, ECS moves). As the regular trips progress they in turn put more pressure on the higher priced less reliable one off trips, which means more cancellations due to low bookings and in turn more people lose interest and head for the regular runs.

    I think there is going to be a place for one off trips but they are really going to have to be worth the money - typically its double the cost on a one off run and arguable with the inability to be certain a trip will happen, over optimistic scheduling of returning locos and just the sheer number that are running, they simply aren't special enough at the moment to be worth the extra for enough people. There will always be a few who want to travel behind a particular loco on a new route but that doesn't fill a train, if the same loco was out last week, or there was a different loco over the same route 3 weeks ago.

    One thing which often gets said about recessions is that they weed out the unsustainable businesses (not just the weak or poorly managed ones) - those that can only make it work when there is a lot of spare cash around will struggle when people start to cut back. We don't know what happened behind Past Time - it might be the banks, it might be DBS raising rates, it might just be the directors taking a responsible look at the future bookings and taking action before too many people lose a lot of money. I'd rather see a responsible director close down as soon as it looks likely to go under than see them struggle on thinking they can somehow find a miraculous way out of it, which in reality just pours more peoples money into the abyss. Things will probably be tight for a while in terms of trips running, but maybe as the economy recovers we'll see more as people have more money to spend. In the meantime if you have a pet engine, now is probably the time to give what help you can as mainline bookings disappear.
     
  18. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    6,445
    Likes Received:
    2,025
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Very sad news. I did wonder if something was wrong as their online booking facility hasn't been working for a couple of days. It now only has the Torbay trips.
    I would just like to say thanks for the all the hard work they put in and providing us with some cracking ML trips in the past.
     
  19. gwr4090

    gwr4090 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    2,847
    Likes Received:
    222
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Scientist (Rtd)
    Location:
    Dorset
    I understand that a new company "Torbay Express Limited" has been formed, and this company will take over responsibility for the Torbay Express trains. Bookings for the Torbay Express are now being handled by Pathfinder Tours, along with the 8 August trip by Tornado to Plymouth.

    David
     
  20. maureen

    maureen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    163
    Just had a phone call to confirm that Past Time Rail has ceased trading, and that a new company has been formed to take over the Torbay Expresses, the company will honour any bookings and payments that have been made and tickets and timings wiil go out in the usual manner, as regards the 11th July Tornado trip to Plymouth is now very unlikely to run, they said I would get a letter from the liquidator regaring that and as I paid by credit card would be able to claim it from my credit card company, luckily I only paid a deposit instead of the full amount as I booked straight away I knew it was running, it is only the Torbay's that is guaranteed to run, and provided you paid by credit card for any other trains you booked on you will be able to claim it back. It is so sad that they have had to shut up shop, but at least they are handling the situation better than Kingfisher, they contacted me rather than you having to chase them up with phone calls, letters and emails without any reply.
     

Share This Page