Railway Assets: Buy Your Very Own Steam Train

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June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Andrew Cook, chairman of William Cook Holdings tells Bloomberg’s Pimm Fox about the history of his company and the 141-R locomotive which is up for sale.


What comprises this unusual combination of train asset?

S? to begin with i should make a point that my company has a very big is missed supplying parts -- business supplying parts to passenger cars, freight cars, those were the things throughout europe and britain.

This was a little sign line, if you like -- sideline, if you like, to boost our image in the world of railway, and to feel a little bit of a gap in the market.

, essentially the steam locomotive and its service carriage is the minor part of a whole train which is called the classic train.

It is probably the world leader in train travel and train transportation for people.

Some 40% of the population travels on trains every day.

I decided that we would try and see how we could get on with restoring a classic train, and catering for the trade market, particularly in switzerland.

This was really the icing on the cake to give it more appeal.

This was all completed after a complex three or four your program -- year program.

That continued annually with several trips a year.

We found the real attraction from a commercial standpoint was the train itself, the carriages and locomotive.

I was approached a year or so ago by a consortium specialist in travel companies who wanted to take a long lease of the train.

That has been very successful.

Leaving locomotive without a regular user.

This locomotive i do need to be in the hands of -- either needs to be in the hands of a skilled operator of train, rather than a builder of parts or trains, which is what i do, or any to be in the hands of an as yet group -- enthusiast group that can cherish it.

I have done the hard work, i took this locomotive from a state of it could not work and i shipped it to switzerland, the most rail friendly country in the world, and restored it.

It is a beautiful condition.

It is completely compliant with all of the safety regulations.

In a -- it is time for someone else to have a go.

If they wanted to, they could ship it to another part of the world and re-create another age of steam.


Strangely, almost conversely as this has been the work of englishmen, it will not run in england but it will run throughout the european networks with the exception of spain and portugal and russia.

It will run in every other european country and it will of course run in the united aids of the americas -- united states of america.

I have had serious interest in repatriating it to the country of its birth.

It could be uplifted, put on a boat, take into the usa and seen there and then on the dockside and driven off back to its legs of birth.

-- place of birth.

Can you give us a little detail of the history of your family and your business interests?

You have been making thing for a very long time -- things for a very long time.

My personal history is so colored, and such a roller coaster ride, there are some e-books i have written.

My company was originally a family business.

We started making swordaws in the mid-19th century.

After a family division, we started making steel castings.

It was a very small as this in the 1950's, and then group for a time and then declined almost into a state of bankruptcy in the early 1980's when i took it on from the state of bankruptcy.

I built it up again and then fought off a hostile takeover bid.

I paid off the debt, and it took about 40 years to do what some of your more skillful entrepreneurs do in a fifth of that time to get to a point where my family owns the whole thing.

It is of a respectable size.

In dollars we have annual sales of about $150 million.

We employ just over 800 people, four factories, and niche markets, rail components, parts for military vehicles, oil, power, most of the basic engineering industries that keep the lights on and keep things moving.

Are you going to miss the train?

I can always go and see it when somebody else owns it, but i think the businessman in me says it is time to move on, time to address other challenges.

I find my satisfaction comes from building things up by creating them, and meeting challenges that no one else will do.

I think it is the right thing to do, to move on.

I have written a book about it, there is a lot of film about it, and it will always be there.

I look forward to coming and maybe even advising new owner on how to get the best out of it.

Thank you.

Coming up, i'm good to speak

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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