D-Train starts next set of mainline testing

Vivarail has today begun its next set of mainline testing for its battery-powered Class 230 D-Trains on the Cotswold Line between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh.

A shuttle service will leave the Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC) at 11.39 tomorrow to go to Moreton-in-Marsh, after which it will make several trips back and forth.

Vivarail staff will also be on the train to analyse performance as the rolling stock accumulates mileage and collects important data.

It comes the week before passengers will be welcomed to see the trains for the first time since its revamp during the Rail Live show on 20 and 21 June, which will be attended by RTM.

Services will run from Honeybourne station to QRTC on both days of the show. Though track speed will be limited to 25mph, passengers will be able to appreciate the acceleration of the train and the smoothness of the ride provided.

“The modular D-Train engine design has allowed us to speedily develop our battery version,” said a spokesperson for Vivarail. “Currently the train is undergoing extensive testing as we simulate routes and collect performance data. 

“Throughout the show Vivarail will be demonstrating the train with hourly displays. Staff on the stand will be happy to talk about the design concepts and our future plans.”

In May, the company announced that its trains were now ready for sale following a number of obstacles that had occurred during the testing of the battery trains.

Back in December, a test run at a Vivarail facility ended in disaster after the train set on fire on the track.

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Ray Gunn   14/06/2017 at 13:25

Both the diesel and battery versions of the D-trains are good ideas but looking for a use. The trains are limited by maximum speed and operators might be reluctant to take on just a few units unless the operational economics stack up. But then surely there must be potential for services such as Cardiff's valley services or being able to supply /maintain small fleets for a TOC's branch line services? Certainly I'd like to see this idea succeed.

Andrew Gwilt   14/06/2017 at 16:00

A new lease of life for the former London Underground D78 "1978 D-Stock" Vivarail Class 230 D-Trains. Hopefully they will soon be used on branch lines in South Wales, Southwest England, West Midlands and East Midlands to replace the Class 142's and Class 143's Pacers and possibly to operate on the Brighton-Ashford International Marshlink line service. Shame that Greater Anglia doesn't need the Class 230 D-Trains on Marks Tey-Sudbury branch line and Ipswich-Felixstowe branch line services because they are ordering the Stadler Flirt Class 755 Bi-Mode and Class 745 EMU units.

Chrism   14/06/2017 at 16:57

The original claims made by Viva Rail was that the class 230 would 1) provide a modern travelling environment,2) it would deliver half the cost per seat of a class 150 and 3) that it could be in fleet service by 2016. The second and third claims were not met and it appears the cost of having a modern interior hikes the price up considerably. All this for a train which is limited to 60mph running and will not have air conditioning. It is likely that many of the organisations that urgently need more DMUs will wait until the class 319 bi-mode is demonstrated. These will be capable of 90mph running on diesel and 100mph on electric, so are likely to be more suitable for many operators. Because of this and the cheap cost of finance for new stock I do think Viva Rail will now struggle to sell many trains. Which is a shame as the idea was innovative.

Andrew Gwilt   14/06/2017 at 21:20

That gives me a thought. Why cant Greater Anglia have some of the Class 230 D-Trains to operate between Marks Tey-Sudbury and Ipswich-Felixstowe services with the Class 755's Bi-Mode to operate on other non-electrified routes in East Anglia. As well Class 755's to operate between Norwich and Stansted Airport once the new Class 755's Bi-Mode and Class 745's EMU's (that are to replace the Class 321's, Class 317's and other EMU rolling stocks) are delivered from Stadler manufacturing plant in Switzerland and to replace the older rolling stocks that Greater Anglia are already replacing.

Chrism   14/06/2017 at 22:02

Andrew, just how many times do you need to be told? The new East Anglia franchise was awarded with the winning bidder (Abellio) promising to completely replace every current train with new rolling stock. 1,043 new vehicles are on order. They will never - I repeat never - operate class 230s - because to do so would be a broken promise. So can you please stop going on and on about seeing 230s running on the Sudbury branch or anywhere else in Anglia. It simply ain't happening....

J, Leicester   15/06/2017 at 10:15

Glad to see the 230s are back in mainline testing. Hopefully the issues from the previous tests have been dealt with. Still think there's a market for the units on a number of rural routes, especially where Pacers are the current fayre. Sad to say the Nuneaton - Coventry trial is probably dead in the water now, but there may be scope to try them somewhere else - maybe Chiltern would like to take a punt for the Aylesbury - Princess Risborough route now the Bubblecars have retired?

Andrew Gwilt   15/06/2017 at 10:47

Well there goes my thought on the Class 230's for East Anglia. http://www.railmagazine.com/news/fleet/2015/10/22/d-trains-for-anglia Well it could of happened. @Chrism. Ffs.

Huguenot   15/06/2017 at 15:01

There must be examples of Branch lines with frequent stops where the D-train would be ideal (given its good acceleration) and where the 75mph max speed would not be a problem. Sheffield-Huddersfield via Barnsley? Bedford-Bletchley? West Country branches? There is a shortage of DMUs at the moment and unelectrified rural branches would not be a good use for the bi-mode 319s.

J, Leicester   15/06/2017 at 15:34

While we're on branch lines that would be appropriate - crazy thought, but the growing number of heritage lines operating onto the national network might benefit from a 230 as well? Swanage, Paignton & Dartmouth, West Somerset and North Yorkshire Moors spring to mind for starters. I'd say North Norfolk too for Andrew's sake, but the crossing at Sheringham isn't really orthodox enough for regular services, and I doubt the demand is there for a mainline service to Holt anyway. What's more likely on those lines is that outgoing second-generation DMUs will take up the mantle, if heritage to main network services are going to become a regular thing. It's certainly an untapped market.

Andrew Gwilt   15/06/2017 at 21:28

I've also heard that Class 319 "Flex" EMU soon to become Bi-Mode units will be classified as Class 769 if that is true.

Henry Law   16/06/2017 at 09:23

Why not just remove all the power equipment and loco-haul the units? If the problem with restricted headroom in the tunnel between Ryde Esplanade and St Johns, they might be a good replacement for the Isle of Wight.

Mr Robin S Wickenden   17/06/2017 at 15:41

No only tube trains would be in gauge on the IIsle of Wight. D-stock (now class 230) was sub-surface, not tube. As I've said before, it's time people learned the difference. A class 230 train would "bang its head on the roof" if it tried to go through Ryde.

Ray Gunn   19/06/2017 at 08:09

@If the problem with restricted headroom in the tunnel between Ryde Esplanade and St Johns, they might be a good replacement for the Isle of Wight. There are schemes to single the tunnel dig out the Up line to increase the gauge (with pumps housed in the Down Line tunnel to keep the flooding at bay). However, current thoughts are towards the use of 455 units.

J, Leicester   19/06/2017 at 09:32

Henry, if we're talking about turning LU stock into loco-hauled stock, we might as well put the Port of Par locos on a boat and turn the whole IOW network into a steam line. As Robin and Ray alluded to, there isn't enough clearance. Though the more I think of that ridiculous idea, the more I like it. I'd ride it!

Gabriel Oaks   20/06/2017 at 08:12

There appears to be a lot of misinformation being written about the IoW and Ryde tunnel within which the track level was raised several feet for the 1967 electrification due to the tunnel suffered from flooding. This reduction in height required the use of LT Standard (tube) stock. In this respect Ray Gunn is correct that 'conventional' rolling stock could be used of Ryde tunnel was dug out with pumps employed to deal with the floodwater. Singling of the tunnel (up line) would enable placement of the pumps in the down tunnel. The track through the station platforms would also be lowered back to their original height. Island line's passing loops are positioned for a 20-minute frequency (3-train) service but with two trains now used the service is unhelpfully 20/40-minute intervals. There is a proposal to remove the current passing loops (St Johns /Sandown) in favour of a single loop at Brading to enable a 30-minute (2-train) service interval. This would also enable instatement of a second track from Smallbrook Jct to St Johns enabling the steam railway to run through. The electric railway would use the loop at St Johns and the current up /down platforms turned into terminating platforms for the steam railway whilst giving level access to all. There is very little money available and revenues keep falling (the Island has a good bus service) so the cheapest solutions are being looked at (including 455 stock). It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the line could even be closed, de-electrified and handed over to the steam railway to operate a limited heritage service.

Matthew Read   25/06/2017 at 11:37

I hope they end up on the West Country branch lines because I go down there quite a lot ie: Exeter to Exmouth and Paignton to Newton Abbot etc.

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