Vivarail has announced that the three two-car D-train diesel multiple units produced for London Northwestern Railway will not enter service in December as it had been planned.
With the Class 230 DMUs being produced using the body shells and bogies from former London Underground D78 metro trains, the time taken to optimise the control systems on the first unit had delayed work on the other two. This means that the fleet will not be ready for the December timetable change.
Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter said his experience in the rail industry meant he was “fully aware of the problems that can occur when introducing new trains and that one unforeseen event can easily overturn months or even years of planning. That is the case here and at Vivarail we hold our hands up to that fact.”
Vivarail thanked London Northwestern Railway for its patience and help with resolving the remaining issues and said it was confidents that the units would be ready for service in the New Year.
“We want to reassure passengers that we will continue to run the Bedford – Bletchley service with existing trains until the Vivarail units are available. The Class 230 programme is an innovative scheme that will deliver many benefits to local rail users. We will continue to support Vivarail in bringing this new concept to the Marston Vale Line,” said Jonny Wiseman, Head of Stations for London Northwestern Railway.
The D-Train is intended to be a low-cost option for lightly used routes. The DMUs for the Bedford – Bletchley line are to have accessible toilets, USB sockets and face-to-back seating, as well as automatic engine cut-out at stations and the capability of future conversion to battery power.
Wales & Borders franchise has also ordered five three-car diesel-battery multiple-units for use on the Wrexham – Bidston, Conwy Valley and Chester – Crewe routes from mid-2019.