Rail specialist Railbookers, a member of the Travel Trust Association (TTA), has been acquired by US operator Yankee Leisure Group after getting into financial difficulty.

Sister company and Atol-holder Travel Definitions, which organised flight-inclusive packages for the company, has ceased trading.

Railbookers and Travel Definitions together had up to 1,000 bookings. The CAA reported Travel Definitions ceased trading with about 250 forward bookings at the end of last week while the deal to save the business was being finalised.

Former Collette general manager Peter Traynor has been appointed managing director of Railbookers, as part of the deal.

Gary Lewis, chief executive of TTA owner the Travel Network Group, said: “The Railbookers group got into a financial challenge and has been sold to US owners.

“All customers are covered by Railbookers’ membership of the TTA. We worked to ensure a quick acquisition to ensure customers were not disrupted.

“Existing bookings will simply carry on. The T-Atol licence [of the Travel Network Group] will take responsibility for all bookings. There should be no claim on the Air Travel Trust. There will be no disruption.”

Railbookers had worked with Yankee Leisure Group, selling US holidays in the UK, since 2008. The US group stepped in to acquire the company, in a deal believed to be worth near to £1 million, when Railbookers and Travel Definitions ran out of cash.

A statement released today about the deal said “an existing relationship between staff in the UK and US, as well as a commercial partnership with significant history, made the acquisition last week a natural fit for the Yankee portfolio”.

YLG’s president Frank Marini confirmed that there will be no impact for the company’s customers.

“Our US based corporation has been built on the same ethos and foundation that Railbookers here in the UK operates by – fantastic service, unrivalled flexibility and an exceptional customer experience.

“During this short period of hand-over, customers travelling with Railbookers are our priority, and we’re working with the team to ensure the transition is seamless.

“Moving forward, we’re excited to build upon the great work done by Railbookers over the last 13 years, and look forward to taking the brand to the next level.

“With this in mind, our appoint of Peter Traynor as the new managing director will give the company the immediate direction and support required to continue the exceptional customer service and leading product that Railbookers is best known for.”

Railbookers previously operated under two brands, Railbookers Ltd servicing rail only customers, and Travel Definitions Ltd which operated holidays inclusive of flights.

The ongoing concern of both businesses has been taken over by Yankee Leisure Group, who are working closely with the CAA and Travel Trust Association in order to ensure that no customers are affected.

Since 2008 Railbookers has worked with Yankee Leisure Group to support and deliver its long haul USA holidays to the UK Market.

YLG is 44-years-old and is the National Tour Operator for Amtrak Vacations, which is the largest North American rail holiday brand.

The Railbookers acquisition, was sealed on March 4 and has seen the hand-over of all existing business to YLG, who will operate the company going forward.