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First Vivarail production train enters final build stage

After a period of radio silence, Vivarail has announced that its long-awaited battery D-Train is in its final build stage and will be in passenger service by summer.

The two-car train is the first production battery unit in the UK, powered by two lithium ion batteries per car.

The project suffered delays when its first trial runs on the Coventry to Nuneaton line were pushed back from October 2016 to February 2017 as the approval process for its use on mainline services had proved to be more complicated than anticipated.

It was then derailed in December 2016 when a test train caught fire, delaying the trials further.

The incident required an investigation in partnership with RAIB and led to five partners announcing that they could no longer support the project.

However, in March 2017 the train completed its first test run and was back on track, and by May its first two trains were ready for sale.

In July last year, further funding was announced for the project, with the Accelerating Innovation in Rail grant competition recognising the company's progression developing battery technology for the rail industry and injecting cash.

The trains can be charged through the existing infrastructure of OHL or a third rail, or, for non-electrical lines, there is a static battery bank which has been developed as an alternative.

In either case, the train is charged automatically through a patented automatic charging point, which the company says will allow battery trains to replace diesel units with minimal time and effort.

The train is expected to be on the network, fully approved for passenger service, by this summer.

Top image: Ben Jones

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Andrew Gwilt   23/02/2018 at 23:05

This new Battery operated Class 230 train could be ideal for Reading-Gatwick Airport service as it would recharge via AC 25kv Overhead at Reading and/or DC 750v 3rd Rail at Gatwick Airport, Redhill and/or Guildford. Or shorter journeys with charging points located at some stations such as Stourbridge Town-Junction Line or a diesel powered Class 230 that could replace the Class 139 on that small branch line in Stourbridge. And yes if Greater Anglia did had a choice on ordering some of the Class 230 trains then the Class 230’s would of been used on the Ipswich-Felixstowe and Sudbury-Marks Tey Branch Lines.

Andrew Gwilt   23/02/2018 at 23:11

And also the Class 230 DEMU’s could be ideal to operate on the Maidenhead-Bourne End-Marlow, Twyford-Henley-on-Thames and Slough-Windsor & Eton Central Branch Lines in the Thames Valley area to replace the Class 165’s to be used on other routes.

Andrew JG   24/02/2018 at 04:27

As West Midlands Trains are ordering some of the Class 230's for London Northwestern Railway to operate on Bletchley-Bedford Marston Vale line to replace the Class 150's and Class 153's/156's that are to be cascaded to Northern and/or Great Western Railway. West Midlands Trains could also order some of the Class 230's for West Midlands Railway to operate on Coventry-Leamington Spa line, Birmingham New St-Telford Central, Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham Snow Hill-Stourbridge Junction and Dorridge services. As well on other non-electrified local lines in the West Midlands. South Western Railway may also order some of the Class 230's to work on Eastleigh-Romsey branch line and to replace the Class 158's on other services.

Ryan   24/02/2018 at 11:36

So what's your point. Speculating on a number of routes where they "would of" been used? I think the most of us are interested in how this technology develops. Especially as I have a friend who is heavily involved in these kind of battery train case studies.

Andrew Gwilt   24/02/2018 at 11:42

And does it matter if I speculate Ryan. Sometimes I get it right.

RTG   24/02/2018 at 12:45

Speculate as much as you like Andrew, but keep it in the privacy of your own bedroom instead of boring everyone else with it, there's a good chap.

Bombardier Tilt   24/02/2018 at 17:35

Good try RTG, doubt if it will work though. The guy is known as an "infestation" on this and other sites. He just carries on...and on and on....and as for "sometimes getting it right" - Pass the laughing gas!

Jason Leyton   24/02/2018 at 20:14

Jesus Christ does that geezer ever stop waffling such nonsense?? It's really starting to piss me off.

Andrew Gwilt   24/02/2018 at 22:46

In fact these trains are so great, they could run anywhere in the UK and even overseas and even on the Sudbury branch. Perhaps they could replace all the trains as they are so good. Here I could give you a long list of railway lines and a long list of current trains they could be used on because then I am guaranteed to get it right, which will show everyone how clever I am.

THE REAL ANDREW GWILT   24/02/2018 at 23:12


THE REAL ANDREW GWILT   24/02/2018 at 23:18

Oh and I have watched a video on YouTube about the Class 230. Before more crap is being said.

Jimbo   25/02/2018 at 09:34

@Andrew Gwilt (real or not) - The problem is that you make long, speculative and ill-informed comments and don't listen when people ask you not to. For example, the Class 230 is limited to 60 mph, but most of the services you list use stock rated for 75 mph (eg. Class 165 on North Downs services) or 90 mph (eg. Class 158's), and are on busy routes where speed is important. Therefore, most of the services you list are not suitable for replacement by 230's. The 230 is more suited to shorter, slower branch lines, accept those where the operator has just ordered new stock (eg. Greater Anglia or West Midlands). So please, please, stop with the stupid, ill-informed speculation - no-one is interested.

Andrew Gwilt   25/02/2018 at 11:03

Whatever. Guess that I’m a attention seeker on the computer who spouts out any kind of rubbish and can’t seem to keep away from the keyboard. And just argues no matter what I see on the comment box. Rather let someone steal my name and write such crap down whilst I’m away from the computer.

Andrew Gwilt   25/02/2018 at 11:05

@Jimbo. I don’t care what you say. You can’t judge me. Oops me yapping and arguing again.

Jim   25/02/2018 at 11:51

I think Andrew may have actually just climaxed.

Dandrew Wgilt   25/02/2018 at 14:10

With the 230s nearly completion they could work on the ECML replacing the HSTS, leading them to replacing 1996/95 tube stocks that could also be cascaded over to West Midlands as bi-modes units to replace the 172s, 170s and 153s that could also work on the jubilee line and northern to replace more tube stocks, OR even better use pacers to work on the LU network (replacing the S7/8 stocks) which could be very ideal on the Manchester-Leeds service.

RTG   25/02/2018 at 14:13

Rolling stock to laughing stock in a few comments. Deep joy. RTM you really need to get a grip on this.

Andrew Gwilt   25/02/2018 at 15:23

I give up. Carry on with this sh!t because I moved on to another subject.

Alastair Fulbrook   26/02/2018 at 02:33

Oh for god sake just leave Andrew alone to his own devices.He doesn't do any harm apart from mildly annoying a few sad rail enthusiasts every now and then and even if you were annoyed by him, there's no reason to be angry about it.

Brian   26/02/2018 at 07:13

The trouble is this isn’t an enthusiast’s site... if this was a facebook group he could be blocked immediately. Not to mention that he swears at anyone who tries to help him with his comments even with the best of intentions. And for some reason RTM don’t seem to have any interest in combatting this.

J, Leicester   26/02/2018 at 11:05

I'm going to rise above all the detritus above and just note that this is great progress and good to see. If we must persist with alternative power solutions to AC electrification, battery tech must be the way forward, at least alongside hydrogen as and when that becomes viable. It's amazing that a cottage industry working out of a hangar in the Staffordshire countryside seems more competent than the corporate might of Porterbrook when it comes to this conversion business. What on earth is going on with the 769s? They were supposed to already be on test at the GCR by now, but we haven't even seen a completed unit, let alone one on test. There's no way in hell they will be introduced on schedule, and I'm increasingly sceptical that they will at all. I imagine VivaRail are rubbing their hands with glee at the Flex project's chronic delays - I wouldn't rule out 230s to Windermere just yet if the battery tests are successful. At least there's an actual unit in existence, rather than a few static engine tests carried out in secrecy and followed by radio silence.

Foaming Stoat   26/02/2018 at 11:30

J, Leicester - some pertinent comments there. I cannot help but correct you on one point though, Long Marston is on the Stratford - Honeybourne axis, rather than in Staffordshire!

J, Leicester   26/02/2018 at 11:41

Oops - that sort of deep-set geographical knowledge is what a degree gets you nowadays! My apologies. Am I right in believing that the units being prepped for the Marston Vale line are going to be DMUs, or is this BEMU planned to also operate that route?

Cock O' The North   26/02/2018 at 14:25

J of Leicester, I believe the 230 diesel version is intended for the Marston Vale route. But not Marks Tey to Sudbury (via Bures).

Neil Palmer   27/02/2018 at 01:56

I think those who don't want to read Andrew's posts should just skip over them, you aren't forced to read them. I recall several months ago I believe Andrew mentioned he has Asperger's, in which case (now that you know) I would presume those taking the piss may feel a little ashamed of themselves and knock it off.

Anonymous   27/02/2018 at 02:12

I much prefer Andrew Hardy’s comments more than Andrew Gwilt who spouts out garbage no matter what he comments rubbish. Andrew Hardy’s comments makes more sense and I agree with Andrew Hardy more than Andrew Gwilt’s lame boring rubbish comments. Who agrees with me?

Neil Palmer   27/02/2018 at 05:46

Anonymous? I guess you don't have the intestinal fortitude to put your name on that insightful contribution.

J, Leicester   27/02/2018 at 09:52

I too must agree with Neil and ask that we rise above the nonsense - it's starting to become a bit nasty - though that's as much down to poor moderation from the RTM as those posting. If I was to speculate on other routes they may show up on, the fact that bidders are dropping like flies for the Wales & Borders franchise suggests to me that the returns are likely to be marginal. If the bidder needs to be seen to provide new / improved services and do so on a shoestring, they can surely do worse than give the 230 a try on the Valleys lines, not least with the 769 Flex project moving like a snail in treacle. If the BEMU can be made to work, even better - Wales gets its electric trains, albeit on a technicality. I wonder if VivaRail have considered regenerative braking? Those Valleys routes would be a good testbed for recharging batteries on the downhill run - say, Ebbw Vale to Cardiff.

Ryan   27/02/2018 at 18:30

Hold on hold on. I have Aspergers. Does that mean I feel the need to make insolent comments and swear at people everywhere I go? In fact I’m currently doing an analysis into self-powered rolling stock, so this news is actually very relevant to me.

Neil Palmer   27/02/2018 at 21:28

Ryan - I'm sure like many conditions there are different levels of severity. But looking at one definition (first one on a Google search for aspergers): Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

Rupert Kay   28/02/2018 at 12:17

@Andrew Gwilt is entitled to comment on these articles and express his views, and he's entitled to be treated with courtesy and respect by people who disagree with him.

Ramsbottom   28/02/2018 at 15:09

@Rupert Kay: You're absolutely right Rupert, but sadly Andrew rarely extends the same courtesy to those who criticise him or even offer him genuine advice, preferring more often than not to respond with abusive language and playground name-calling. There seem to be several people on here at the moment who are more interested in self-righteous virtue signalling than understanding the true scale and nature of the problem. I can only assume that they have not been around these columns for very long.

Ryan   28/02/2018 at 20:06

We wouldn’t have a problem with him Rupert, if he could refrain from swearing at individuals who dare to disagree with his opinions or make reasonable suggestions. Respect goes both ways and to me it seems Andrew considers himself above the law.

Neil Palmer   01/03/2018 at 04:58

It really is time RTM required a verified email account to post here, and only allowed posts with full names, no anonymous/abbreviations/intials/made up names.

Mark Hare   01/03/2018 at 13:19

Quite agree Neil. But you forgot to mention also no myriad of multiple identities useful only for having conversations with yourself and further clogging up these pages with irrelevant drivel.

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