New MD onboard for steam train venture

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THE company that runs the Shakespeare Express steam train has appointed a managing director as it edges forward in its plans to become a train operating company in its own right.

Cath Bellamy joins Vintage Trains Ltd, having established herself as a senior figure in the UK rail industry.

She has been managing director of Chiltern Railways and Hull Trains, as well as holding various  roles  in the Department of Transport.

Vintage Trains launched a share offer scheme in January to raise £3million to help establish itself as a train operating company.

It followed West Coast Railway Company’s decision last year to no longer operate its excursions due its own driver shortage. Vintage Trains is currently based in Birmingham, with long-held plans to have a site in Stratford.

Some £800,000 of the share offer proceeds will fund that with the extra £2.2million to be invested in teaching traditional railway skills and for preserving the historic fleet of steam locomotives.

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Vintage Trains Ltd, said: “The creation of a licensed Train Operating Company (TOC) is all about securing the future of mainline steam for many more years.

“Having worked with Cath for 15 years, I know that she will bring boundless energy and enthusiasm to this exciting new role. She has always had a very sharp focus on customers and is very keen to open up the world of steam trains to a much wider audience.

“The appointment comes at a time when our share offer has almost reached our minimum figure, £800,000, which we need to get the company off the ground.”

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