Full steam ahead as law firm advises on railway fundraising

Alison Scott, of HCR, with Chris Bristow at Toddington, on the GWSR

A Worcestershire law firm has advised on a £1.3m share offer by one of the Midlands’ leading steam railways.

Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) used the share offer to raise funds to extend the line from Laverton in Gloucestershire to Broadway in Worcestershire.

So successful was the offer, that that the railway actually exceeded its target. It had planned to raise £1.25m but in the event reached £1.33m.

Advising on the deal was Harrison Clark Rickerbys partner Alison Scott. It was the second share offer that Ms Scott and her team have handled for the GWSR.

She said: “Because the GWSR is set up as a plc, they are subject to much greater scrutiny and are under much greater obligations than other companies and that includes ensuring that absolutely everything which is included in the share prospectus can be proved to exist as described.”

As such, she even had to walk the track, the points, cuttings and embankments to check that everything was what was claimed.

The extra £80,000 has been used to help to pay for work needed on the Broadway embankment, but although this will cost more than originally estimated, the GWSR is still confident that its target opening date for the extension of March 30, 2018 will be met.

The new extension will take the line to Broadway for the first time since 1960, and will include a restored station at Broadway and considerable earthworks along the line of the track.

Chris Bristow, the railway’s finance director, said: “We were very grateful for all Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ support in this latest venture – we have worked with Alison and her team for some time now, and they are both meticulous and highly professional.

“The work on the embankment is already underway and should take about three months. We are laying track and also working on the station building  at Broadway.

“This is a very exciting time and our volunteers are quite outstanding in their dedication and commitment. We hope that our shareholders, whether long-standing or new, use their ticket vouchers and visit us soon to see how work is proceeding.”

The railway, which has more than 100,000 visitors a year, is staffed by a team of more than 900 volunteers.

It runs along 14 miles of track and the route includes restored bridges, replaced culverts, embankments, fences and station buildings.