Setting up a railtour company..

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37401

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Hi all I am thinking of setting up my own railtour company, ive got a good name and a few good ideas for tours, only problem is im sitting here looking at my PC thinking "I need capital and help" so I was wondering if anyone can give me some genuine advice on how I go about setting up the company.

as it stands its just me but if anyone beleves in me then "welcome aboard" :D


im serious about this so please dont give me any crap, ta

as im on the subject traction will be 56`s, 60`s, 73`s, 87002, 86101, 20`s 40145, D1015, 50`s, 97`s and a few 37`s threw in for good measure you name it and as long as its mainline cert. then we`ll use it

as for locations, London, Carlisle,Penzance, Holyhead, Blackpool, Newcastle,York, Glasgow and a few freight yards

Thanks In Advance

Ian Morris
 
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dan_atki

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Bear in mind that being in charge of a business can be a rather daunting task considering everything that must be done. Many of the things you won't even have thought about.

For example you must:-
- Register with Companies House and pay the appropriate fee
- Register with HM Revenue and Customs to pay tax
- Perform full accounting procedures to send off to Companies House each year
- Fill in a tax return each year
- Adhere to several consumer laws, even more if you wish to trade online (e.g. sell tickets online)

Don't get me wrong - it's possible to do it all by yourself but I fear you may be too young to go it alone and would probably need a level of support (certainly until you get used to the procedure of how to run things by yourself).

More information for you:
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ct/new-company/start-up.htm
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?=en&topicId=1073865730
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdot...SOURCES&r.i=1073789612&r.l2=1073859131&r.s=as
 

37401

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I would haven thought that you would include Birmingham as-well :lol:

I havnt included Birmingham, however at some point the tour will go back to brum so I suppose so :lol:

most tours will start around the Midlands area, but im also looking into going to places that dont get many tours.

I have a plan for my first one: 2x Hanson/colas 56`s Birmingham-Newcastle with york as another set down point
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Don't get me wrong - it's possible to do it all by yourself but I fear you may be too young to go it alone and would probably need a level of support (certainly until you get used to the procedure of how to run things by yourself).

Firstly thanks ever so much :D

secondly, yup im planning to get a few others involved to help out may try and get a loan but we`ll see how things play out, tis still early days :D
 

DaveNewcastle

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Or to the bank manager with a full business plan/proposal.
Yes, but I would STRONGLY advise taking your Business Plan to "Business Link" BEFORE going to a Bank.
Business Link won't charge you, and they have useful examples of what you should consider putting in your Business Plan on their web site. www.BusinessLink.gov.uk
Perhaps the most important thing to be sure of before taking your plan to a Bank is your Cash Flow projection which will show the Bank how their loan gets repaid over time. Convince them of that and you should have an excellent chance.
 
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im also looking into going to places that dont get many tours.
Milton Keynes/Northampton get virtually none!, I suggest using northampton because it has bay platforms that face north, and milton keynes is not one of the most accessable places to get to but it does have some reversing platforms, but the slow line one is always full of london midland trains and the fast line one will get you bullied by virgin
 

Class 33

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Why don't you consider something a bit different. Loads of railtours use 33's, 37's, 47's, etc. What's missing is some good DMU and EMU railtours! Why are there none? Seriously. There are numerous old slammer DMU's on the preserved lines for example. Borrow some of those and take them out on a good railtour. I'll be one of the first to book a ticket if so. And as for a slammer EMU railtour, that'll sell out like hot cakes. Even some of the EMU's from the 70's and 80's like the 321's and 317's which are still in current mainline service, would be interested if used on a railtour.

Though I like your idea of using 86's and 87's. Something else which is sadly missing from the railtours listings, ELECTRIC loco's.
 

43034 The Black Horse

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Why don't you consider something a bit different. Loads of railtours use 33's, 37's, 47's, etc. What's missing is some good DMU and EMU railtours! Why are there none? Seriously. There are numerous old slammer DMU's on the preserved lines for example. Borrow some of those and take them out on a good railtour. I'll be one of the first to book a ticket if so. And as for a slammer EMU railtour, that'll sell out like hot cakes. Even some of the EMU's from the 70's and 80's like the 321's and 317's which are still in current mainline service, would be interested if used on a railtour.

Are you going to ching upwards of £80K for OTMR and SDL.......?
 

37401

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Cheers for all the info guys, no prizes for guessing my reaction reading some of the stuff posted, lets just say im glad i wasnt at the top of the stairs :lol:

What I could do is attach myself to another company, invest my ideas in them and help them out e.g phoning WCRC, Cargo-D ect haggling trying to get great traction on the cheap, ive been told I can haggle :) :lol:
and get experience that way, is there anything I can do for a railtour company other than stewarding? (i suppose that ones mosre aimed at those who own them but feel free to post if you know ;) )
 

87031

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id love to get involved with something like this but it would cost a fortune to set up and then u gotta fill the tours with punters. there is a severe lack of electric traction railtours 87002 has done 2 this year but would be great to see her in action with a rake of Mk3 Euston-Glasgow....id be the first to buy a ticket if you can pull that one off;)
 

fgwrich

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well...i do know that some tour operatours like spitfire dont mind taking suggestions for future tours...

As for places that dont get many tours... Well theres my town of BASINGSTOKE - not far up the mainline from Eastleigh - which thanks to Pathfinder seems to get loads of tours now thanks to the stock being based there...And although UK Railtours are now using Woking, the stock still has to come from Eastleigh but yet no stops here! not only that but we do have quite a few carrige sidings located here like long valley...

rich
 

thso1973

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id love to get involved with something like this but it would cost a fortune to set up and then u gotta fill the tours with punters. there is a severe lack of electric traction railtours 87002 has done 2 this year but would be great to see her in action with a rake of Mk3 Euston-Glasgow....id be the first to buy a ticket if you can pull that one off;)

Yeah two tours and from what I remember neither were particularly well filled... Not a good recommendation for a first tour methinks.... You'll be in debt before your company gets off the ground...!!!
 

theblackwatch

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is there anything I can do for a railtour company other than stewarding? (i suppose that ones mosre aimed at those who own them but feel free to post if you know ;) )

U could offer to pay off some of the £500,000+ debt which Past Time Rail apparently had before it finally ceased trading? :lol:
 

Pumbaa

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Three points:

- Under 18s cannot get their own bank accounts easily, let alone a Business Account
- Under 16s cannot register a company, and the proceedures involved as Dan_atki listed are ridiculous, mind-boggling, down right confusing and I think you'd be nuts to open a company at your age

The last point is the most important I feel.
- Companies led by people with no industry experience never succeed.
 

yorkie

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He isn't under 16 so that point doesn't apply.

Anyway, you may need a spare 10 grand or so, as you will find that a lot of bills need paying before you actually get the cash from the punters into your bank account.

What you may find is that other people who have set up similar companies may have access to funds, e.g. if relatives loan them the money perhaps.

A train that only has around a 60% loading will make a loss, and there have been one or two tours of that sort of loading recently. And no, adding a mini tour collecting a few quid off enthusiasts would not cover the shortfall.

You could try asking people who run railtours about the finance side of things. They may not be willing to divulge details but you may be able to get a rough idea.
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . and the proceedures involved as Dan_atki listed are ridiculous, mind-boggling, down right confusing
er, no, he's quite correct!
He said:
- Register with Companies House and pay the appropriate fee
- Register with HM Revenue and Customs to pay tax
- Perform full accounting procedures to send off to Companies House each year
- Fill in a tax return each year
- Adhere to several consumer laws, even more if you wish to trade online (e.g. sell tickets online)

Those of us who have set up Companies have done exactly what he advised.
But just in case it SEEMED complicated, I added that anyone wanting to set up a company should take their plans to Business Link. What I didn't make clear is that Business Link is there to provide help and guidance through exactly this process. So don't be confused or "mind-boggled". If you don't want to do business studies then at least ask someone whose already set up comapnies, and/or the people whose job it is to give advice to business start-ups.

Everything new seems confusing at first - but that doesn't mean its difficult once you've got started. Believe me, once you've learnt how it all works - those technicalities don't get in the way of what you really want the business to do. So please don't dismiss creating and running a business as ridiculous or confusing.
----------------------
But to be fair, I started my first 2 ventures when I was 18. They both failed . . . . . .
- Companies led by people with no industry experience never succeed.
and I hadn't taken any advice from any professionals, hadn't done any business studies, and hadn't gone to Business Link (or whatever their incarnation would have been back then).
 
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dan_atki

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er, no, he's quite correct!

I think that Pumbaa was agreeing that the procedures have to be carried out but they aren't exactly easy (not disagreeing the things have to be done!) - e.g. the tax return is rather complicated in itself.
 

Pumbaa

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I think that Pumbaa was agreeing that the procedures have to be carried out but they aren't exactly easy (not disagreeing the things have to be done!) - e.g. the tax return is rather complicated in itself.

Yup - that's what I was saying.

I also meant that having no experience of the industry you entered was the problem, not having no prior business experience. I created and still run a business in my industry as an aside to my "real" job. It's a pain, and I agree with those people who uphold that, if like 37401, has no prior experience in the railtour industry, he will not succeed.
 

SouthEastern-465

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Please dont take this as a nasty comment but if I am right you are 16?

I would wait until you are older and then go-ahead with your plans because you would have far more cash,far more exprience,and more knowledge of these sort of things.

Please if you do get a railtour company use a electric for once like a class 86 or class 87 because you only see diesal traction on most tours.

Anyway good luck and hope you go ahead with your plans!
Regards
 

alex57601

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First of all you must have balls the size of Mars to be wanting to have a stab at a market which is very cut throat and very fickle.

most tours will start around the Midlands area, but im also looking into going to places that dont get many tours.

The railtour market is saturated in certain areas, with the West Midlands sadly one of those areas. You are advised to stay away from the North West as the market there is really saturated it cannot sustain any more tours than the level it's got already. What doesn't help is that promoters that use stock from WCRC and Riviera off Carnforth and Crewe respectively often run tours from the North West and nearby areas to cut down on ECS mileage as that costs money which will have to be passed on in the ticket price.

That leads me on to the next point. The market is cut throat, so therefore do not expect much co-operation from other promoters. You may get one or two who are willing to provide some sort of assistance, but only for a certain time and if they judge you to not be a threat to them directly. Therefore you are better off getting some contacts at the right levels as some promoters apply for paths up to a year in advance (even though it doesn't get advertised until 3-6 months before).

Furthermore, you are better off waiting until you are at least 18 before getting started.

yorkie said:
Anyway, you may need a spare 10 grand or so, as you will find that a lot of bills need paying before you actually get the cash from the punters into your bank account.

I'd say around £25k.

Also, do not be relying on pay-on-days to make the tour profitable if the train isn't fully booked. Pay-on-days can make the difference between a tour running the black or in the red, but you'll be crying if the pay-on-days do not come out in the droves that you wanted them to do.

As to the point re no industry experience = no success, that isn't strictly true as such, but it does help if you have a basic knowledge of how things work just to make things easier, and having the contacts in the right places who know the industry from back to front.
 

1K73

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Most if not all railtour operators have management teams who some or all of work in appropriate areas of the rail industry and years of experience which can be transferred to train planning, knowing who to talk to and how to talk to them, having a strong list of contacts and the ability to plan professionally. Do you have this?

I'm not trying to put you off....well.....I am. At least for a few years until you're far older and wiser, and far more capable of doing something than another anonymous 'OMG I LIKE TRACTORS BECAUSE I'VE HAD 3!' sproglet would be.
 

ukrob

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You really MUST get many years experience in the industry, and in business/finance before you even consider this or it WILL fail - and even if you have experience it will PROBABLY fail.

Sorry :(
 

route:oxford

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Has any company ever commenced a semi-regular railtour?

I could, for example, imagine a weekly Saturday only service running from Marylebone to Mallaig, returning on the Sunday. Let's call them "MM&M tours" (Marylebone, Midlands & Mallaig).

Semi-fast service via Birmingham Snowhill, the Settle & Carlisle route, Glasgow then on to Crianlarich, Fort William and Mallaig.

Essentially a tourist popular route that can be "dipped into" and also be used for domestic travel.

Stock? I'm thinking a non-hi-density HST to be hired in for the weekend.
 

adamp

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Can I have a job if it works?
lol joke - seriously tho good luck on this!
Cant really say 'he is too young' as I remember watching dragons den and this chap was only young, had everything set in place and clearly knew what he was doing. He did that water buoy thing, got an offer, even tho later on he decided to turn the dragons down. So it shows you can do it if you have enough drive and determination!
-Adam
 
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