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Hunt for Ilfracombe land train operator still on following "disappointing" initial response

By NDJDuncan  |  Posted: February 12, 2014

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THE future of Ilfracombe’s Dotto land train remains uncertain as the council admits the response to its appeal for an operator was “disappointing”.

Councillor Mike Edmunds said the large amount of paperwork sent out to those who showed an interest in the opportunity was “too complicated” and may have put them off.

Now, he said, the paperwork would be cut out and potential operators would be contacted by North Devon Council directly.

The Dotto was bought with a £163,000 EU grant to support Ilfracombe tourism.

It has two carriages, seats 40 passengers and is designed to take tourists on tours of Ilfracombe.

Councillor Edmunds said the project had been in the council’s “bottom draw” until the opportunity to fund it with an EU grant arose.

As a result, there was insufficient time to secure an operator prior to purchase.

Councillor Edmunds said the council was keen to hear from individuals looking for a new challenge as well as established operators.

He said: “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."

The operator will have full use of the train and its container at Hillsborough.

As well as income from ticket sales there is will also be possible to generate revenue from advertising boards and a sound system on the train.

The council has tested the proposed route along the seafront and around the town, and would like to have an operator in place before the Easter school holidays.

Councillor Edmunds said he was confident an operator would be found but did not rule out the possibility of the council operating the Dotto.

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  • Stork  |  February 12 2014, 5:42PM

    It depends on what the deal is. How much can the operator charge, and what kind of rental figure do the Council have in mind. So far, the deal doesn't seem too attractive otherwise it would have been snapped up !

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