By Ashley Butlin
THINK of train builders associated with Britain’s railways and the names of Bombardier, Hitachi and CAF spring to mind.
Not so obvious is the name of Vivarail, a British firm founded in 2015, which has come a long way in the past few years under the leadership of CEO Adrian Shooter.
It was his vision to buy 156 driving motors and 70 trailer cars of redundant D78 stock from London Underground with a view to producing a series of eco-friendly multiple units.
Battery powered demonstrator No. 230002 was recently trialled at the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway for potential customers.
First impressions of the conversion were positive. The sight of a London Tube train in Scotland was somewhat disquieting, but as it ran into the station it was immediately clear it was very different to that which once ran in the capital.
Almost silent when running, the only noise was the wheels on the rails. It is equipped with passenger door opening buttons, and while it certainly feels like boarding a ‘D Stock’ train, stepping inside, the interior reflects the needs of today’s passengers with internal modifications, including USB points throughout the train.
In this example the carriage was equipped with a combination of both conventional 2+2 seating and longitudinal inward-facing seats commonly found on new suburban stock. The actual configuration can be varied to meet customer requirements and also include the provision of fully accessible toilets and a buffet area.
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