‘D-Train’ dream in doubt as Vivarail calls in administrators

Rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail announced its intention to appoint administrators on November 23, after failing to secure new investors.  

A decade after it was established by former Chiltern Railways Managing Director Adrian Shooter and US-based Railroad Development Corp (RRC), the company’s 70 employees - and the trains delivered to three UK operators – face an uncertain future. 

“The Board and I have worked incredibly hard to secure new investment in recent months, and although we have been encouraged by the level of interest, time is now against us to allow potential investors to step in,” said Vivarail Managing Director Steve McBride. 

The company is now working with customers and stakeholders to find a viable solution, but admits that without a rescue package administration is inevitable. 

Founded in 2012 with ambitious plans to create new low-cost trains for regional traffic from 228 redundant London Underground ‘D78’ vehicles, Vivarail has been widely praised for its innovative and flexible ‘D-Train’ concept. However, it has struggled with supply issues and has failed to meet its delivery deadlines. 

With opportunities limited in the UK, the company looked to North America, offering a ‘Pop Up Metro’ concept for underused railroad lines around major cities. Two US-specification ‘D-Train’ prototype DMUs were exported in 2021-22. 

If the hoped-for rescue plan fails to materialise, there is concern that ongoing operation of the Class 230s and ‘484s’ could be affected by a lack of after-sales maintenance and spares support. 

A South Western Railway spokesman told RAIL: “We are monitoring developments at Vivarail and, if they were to appoint administrators, would work closely with them to ensure the continued smooth running of our trains on the Island Line.”

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 12/12/2022 16:24

    The ten-year British rolling stock manufacturer, Vivarail, announced their intention to appoint administrators in November 2022 and entered administration on 1 December 2022. The company's Class 230 multiple units were temporarily withdrawn from London Northwestern Railway the same day. LNRailway is currently unable to provide a rail service on the Marston Vale line. Buses still replace trains on this line until further notice. The new Class 196 Civity units to the rescue?! Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 12/12/2022 16:28

    Jon Roden, Helen Dale and Andrew Charters of Grant Thornton UK LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of Vivarail Limited on 1 December 2022. The affairs, business and property of Vivarail Limited (“the Company”) are being managed by the joint administrators, who act as agents of the Company and without personal liability. Jon Roden, Helen Dale and Andrew Charters are authorised by the Insolvency Practitioners Association to act as insolvency practitioners. Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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  • Chris Sambrook - 13/12/2022 11:14

    A great shame that an innovative idea looks set to bite the dust at a time when projects like this could prove to be part of the answer to reducing CO2 and diesel particulate emissions as well as providing sustainable transport solutions for local communities.

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