Operator still sought for Ilfracombe land train

16:46 12 February 2014

There has as yet been no formal application from potential operators to run Ilfracombe

There has as yet been no formal application from potential operators to run Ilfracombe's new land train.

Archant

North Devon Council reports a ‘disappointing interest’ following the formal tendering process.

THE hunt is still on for someone to run the new Ilfracombe land train.

North Devon Council has said there was ‘a disappointing response’ to the formal tendering process, and it will now be reconsidering how it intends to recruit an operator.

The Dotto train was made in Italy and purchased following a £163,000 grant from the EU to support tourist development in Ilfracombe.

An appeal for applicants to run an around town service via the seafront and High Street, starting this Easter, has not attracted the interest hoped for.

The council said having already followed strict procurement guidelines to market the opportunity, it will now be contacting those who registered an initial interest but did not submit a tender, to find out why.

They will also be contacting other potential operators directly to generate further interest.

“As well as established companies, we’re keen to talk to entrepreneurs and individuals who want a new challenge,” said Executive Member for Development at Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds.

“These are exciting times for Ilfracombe and we think the land train will be a profitable and successful addition to the town’s attractions, particularly during the summer months.”

It was proposed to offer a 12 month contract and the operator will have full use of the train and its container at Hillsborough and as well as income from ticket sales.

The council said there was also an opportunity to make further revenue from advertising boards and a sound system within the train.

It said the train has been successfully trialled on the proposed route. Stops are being designed and will be in place when the train starts running.

The council would like to have an operator in place before the Easter school holidays.

To find out more contact the council’s economic development team on 01271 388216 or email economicdevelopment@northdevon.gov.uk.

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