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Vivarail unveil new images of D-Train DMU

People excited about Vivarail’s developments will be pleased to know that the company has released new images of its D-Train DMU – including a first peek at the interior of its carriage.

Last week, RTM reported that the first test run of the battery-powered train had been completed on its test track, snuffing out scepticism that had previously come about from issues the D-Train had experienced in previous tests.

 d-train middle car interior finished

Over Christmas, a test train caught fire causing disruption to services between Coventry and Leamington Spa as well as from Manchester to Bournemouth.

However, writing in the last edition of RTM, Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter put this down to a “perfect storm” that could not be seen as a threat to the project.

D-train pic 2

Today, new pictures have been unveiled by the company that show the results of work that saw heavy electro mechanical gear replaced with modern equipment, as well as the installation of two gensets to each power car with a detachable module – a feature that will make train maintenance easier.

D-train pic 1

Explaining the new works, David King, engineering director at Vivarail, said: “We recently unveiled our battery train, where the batteries are housed in exactly the same framework as the gensets on our DMU. 

“By working to this identical design we can keep costs low and build-time fast – each different type of train can be assembled to much the same process so our technicians are able to speedily build a variety of trains for different customers.

“It also means we can build EMUs and hybrids with ease – and looking to the future there is no reason why fuel cells couldn’t be used.  Indeed a train running on batteries now could swap over to fuel cells as the technology develops.” 

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Andrew Gwilt   29/03/2017 at 14:10

I know that Greater Anglia are to order new trains in the next few years but I do personally think that some the Class 230's DEMU's could be used on the Marks Tey-Sudbury line to replace the Class 153's and Class 156's used on that branch line and also to operate on the Ipswich-Felixstowe line aswell.

Matthew Read   29/03/2017 at 19:10

I want them in Devon Andrew because I go there regularly for holidays.

Simon   30/03/2017 at 10:20

Maybe these would be suitable for the Great Western branch lines which are not being electrified - especially the Greenford Shuttle, perhaps with 'opportunity charging' of the batteries whilst laying over between journeys at West Ealing and Greenford stations

Lee   30/03/2017 at 12:30

Was wondering how the batteries would be re-charged on this train. I appreciate the train may not be finished, but there doesn't appear to be any third rail shoes or overhead pantograph. I assume they would be 'plugged-in' to a power source. I admit my electrical engineering knowledge is virtually non-existent, but it would seem to me being able to recharge quickly and regularly would help to keep train performance optimal and reliable, especially given differing loadings resulting from differing passenger loads and gradients during journeys, on the traction motors.

Noam Bleicher   30/03/2017 at 15:59

THey are charged by the same gensets that power the standard diesel-electric D-train Lee.

Andrew Gwilt   30/03/2017 at 21:53

Matthew Read-Probably at some point the Class 230's could be used on branch lines in Devon, Cornwall and across the Southwest and possibly to operate on the Cardiff & Valley branch lines in South Wales. Simon-I agree with you. Yes there could be some approval to use some of the Class 230's on the West Ealing-Greenford branch line (as TfL is hoping to take over that line as part of the London Overground Network in a few years). But London Overground could be using the Class 166's or to use the Class 172's cascaded from the newly electrified Gospel Oak-Barking line (once the Class 710's are ordered and are operating on the GOBLIN route).

Andrew JG   31/03/2017 at 08:39

Vivarail have got a lot of work to convert all 75 former London Underground D78 stock units since being replaced by the S7 Stocks that are now dominating the District Line since the last S7 stock was delivered from its Bombardier manufacturing plant in Derby that in total 192 S-Stocks are now operating on all 4 sub-surface lines (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines). But the good news is that London Underground wants to keep some of the D78 stocks as Rail Adhesion Trains (RAT) units just like London Underground have kept some of the A-Stock and C-Stock to be used as Rail Adhesion Trains units for the other sub-surface lines.

George Chmielewski   31/03/2017 at 13:50

Look forward to the D Stock as class 230. Yes 75 trains. Each train is 2 three car units so its 150 three car units. Some Apart from some three car cabs having cab at both ends, most were an uncoupling non driving motor (ie no cab). So take a six car train, to make it a three car train, one trailer and both UNDM's are surplus. They go a 'different direction' when the train is withdrawn. So its 75 three car trains. But out of 75, some RAT's, the crash test unit written off, some DM preserved by someone (maybe its the other DM) and so wonder how many three car trains it is. What if demand exceeded supply?

Mark Hare   31/03/2017 at 15:24

George - I don't think we're in the realms of demand exceeding supply just yet! As far as we know, the purchase of the stock by Mr Shooter was purely speculative and he has yet to find any orders from any TOC ad is unlikely to do so until the unit is tested and proven reliable. I applaud the venture and look forward to seeing where, if anywhere, these units will find work.

Chris M   04/04/2017 at 01:56

Adrian Shooter has said they already have an order 'in single figures' - it could be just one train, it could be nine units. They are keeping their cards close to their chests. The 'new' look front end is actually a retrograde step in my opinion, it makes them look like 1980s trains! The previous livery did a good job of disguising their age. The biggest problem for Viva Rail is that a lot of mk3 based EMUs are becoming available for re-engineering in the next few years. Many are younger than the D78s and of course they are robust mainline trains, capable of 100mph use. Porterbrook's adding of diesel engines to their class 319s is likely to take much of the market away from Viva Rail - and the SWT 455 units with brand new AC drives will also be in the frame for added diesel engines.

Mark Hare   04/04/2017 at 11:17

I believe there will still be a market for the D-train on branch lines where 100mph running is not a requirement. Such lines in Devon and Cornwall or East Anglia could be ideal for the units, depending on the leasing costs compared to other trains. And of course the Chiltern 'Bubble Cars' are due to be retired in May, I hear the current plan is to replace them with a 2-car 165 but with Shooter's previous connection with Chiltern, who is to say that a deal hasn't been done to use the D-train between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough?

David Morphew   04/04/2017 at 12:55

Andrew JG - I think you will find that the D stock Rail Adhesion Trains will replace the A and C stock versions, not as well as.

Andrew JG   04/04/2017 at 20:22

Ok. Thanks.

John Burns   05/04/2017 at 12:00

Merseytravel have been punting for the Wrexham to Bidston, Birkenhead line (Borderlands Line) to be a part of Merseyrail and run into the electrified 3rd rail underground sections in Birkenhead and Liverpool. This could also run onto Liverpool South Parkway south of the city centre on the Merseyrail Northern Line by recommissioning the 300 yards of the 1890s tunnel from Liverpool James St to Central. The 27 miles long Borderlands Line is slow diesel with electrification an expensive item for an hourly service - although once modernised the frequencies will increase as usage increases. Battery trains are being assessed for this line, which appears ideal for this technology. Trains can use a 3rd rail pickup on the electrified underground sections from Bidston into Liverpool and simultaneously recharging the on-board batteries/supercapacitors. The odd station on the unelectrified section could have a 3rd rail to give an acceleration boost preserving the battery charge and also charge batteries/supercapacitors while at the station. The Japanese have battery trains in service right now. The new light Stadler Merseyrail fleet is capable of being converted to battery power & 3rd rail and overhead wires & 3rd rail. It is about time the Borderlands Line got some attention with the two stations planned at Birkenhead built and a proper interchange with the North Wales Coast Line at Shotton.

Mike Campbell   05/04/2017 at 16:25

Would love to see The Borderlands Line developed and the Class 230's could be ideal, providing they can cope with some pretty heft gradients from Gwersyllt up to Buckley. Moving into the Merseyrail network would be of benefit too, as currently the 2 class 150 sprinters have to head back to South Wales for maintenance.

John Burns   07/04/2017 at 09:23

To run in the Merseyrail Liverpool & Birkenhead tunnels no fuel tanks can be on-board, precluding hybrid electric/DMU. It has to be hybrid electric/battery trains.The hefty gradients in Wales from Gwersyllt up to Buckley could have something like a 3rd rail only at the 5 stations along that stretch, to give grid acceleration to preserve the batteries and a short recharge when stopped at the station. The less energy extracted from the battery pack the longer the train is in service as recharges at Wrexham would take some time. The Borderlands Line is heavily used at the Welsh end, build a few station in Birkenhead would make the line busy at the Liverpool end. If it was faster end to end, more would use it end to end, currently few do as it takes an hour and then a charge into Liverpool. The odd express service from Wrexham to Liverpool, with limited stops, could be introduced. The Japanese have hybrid electric/battery trains in service right now that run on a mix of electrified and un-electrified track, increasing the numbers of lines used. The new EV-E801 series two-car battery train (BEMU) was introduced on the 16.5 mile long non-electrified Oga Line in western Japan in March 2017, using a 20 kV AC overhead supply to power and recharge the batteries. The Japanese have at least three lines running hybrid electric/battery trains.

Essex Commuter   07/04/2017 at 10:58

Greater Anglia may allow to use some of the Class 230's DEMU's to be used on the Marks Tey-Sudbury branch line and Ipswich-Felixstowe branch line despite new Stadler Flirt Electro-Diesel Multiple Unit trains are to be ordered for these routes and on other branch lines in East Anglia as they are Bi-Mode trains that can operate on electrified routes and non-electrified routes across the Greater Anglia network.

John Burns   07/04/2017 at 11:56

That is good news. The reason why the Borderlands Line should be prioritised is that battery trains will extend the line into the Liverpool & Birkenhead metro tunnels making this line a part of the Wirral Line. Battery trains will add real value and most probably get a the few proposed stations built in Birkenhead taking passengers right into Liverpool's centre increasing line usage. If it comes about I would still like it to be named the Borderlands Line of Merseyrail, remaining with a separate identity, not the Wirral Line, which has far too many branched with parts renamed. Trains with tanks of diesel are not a good idea in metro tunnels with stations, so diesel/electric hybrids are precluded. The success of the Borderlands running into Liverpool would be a great example highlighting the usage of battery trains and of where they enhance, and where they can fill gaps in the network.

J, Leicester   10/04/2017 at 09:13

Chris M, I think it's fair to say that Vivarail's 230s and Porterbrook's 319 Flexes will not be competing for contracts, given that one is an outright DMU / BMU, while the other will be a bi mode unit primarily for use under the wires (a la the IEP). As mentioned by others, there exists a very real niche for the 230 to fill in rural branch lines away from electrified and / or mailnine networks. An underappreciated feature of these units is how lightweight they are - their acceleration lends them well to shaving minutes off schedules on routes with low maximum speeds or many curves which trains have to slow to traverse. If Shooter and Co. can prove them to be reliable, they could be a boon for railway byways and help increase capacity and frequency for rural lines.

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