Vivarail set to receive first D78 for conversion into DEMU
The first London Underground D78 train to be withdrawn from service is being delivered to Vivarail at Long Marston on Monday, under its programme to convert the old stock into diesel trains for Northern and other routes.
In December, RTM reported that Vivarail had reached a deal with Transport for London to acquire 150 driving motor cars and about 300 vehicles of ex-District Line stock, with plans to form 75 units of two, three or potentially four-car trains.
The company confirmed to RTM that it is in discussions with potential customers, including every bidder for the next Northern franchise. It is also exploring opportunities for overseas export.
When the first of the stock arrives on Monday, the plan is to begin converting it into a three-car D-Train prototype immediately so that it can be up and running on the 1.8-mile test track in the summer.
There have been criticisms from the RMT rail union and others that the plan amounts to running “London’s cast-offs” on heavy rail routes that deserve newer trains, but Vivarail notes that the ‘flexible frame’ bogies are barely 10 years old, and promises: new engines and generators; new auxiliary equipment; new traction control systems; new national rail safety systems; a new cab structure; new gangways; new lighting; new or refurbished interiors, based on client requirements; upcycled corrosion-free aluminium bodyshells; and upcycled ‘nearly-new’ bogies.
The company has contracted Revolve (Brentwood, Essex) to supply the diesel power modules, and Strukton (Holland), to supply the insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), which controls the traction motors in both traction and braking.
Vivarail says: “D-Trains are much more than London’s cast-offs. Instead they offer a new concept in sustainable travel for local rail services, with a first-class engineering pedigree.”
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