Vivarail targets summer running for new battery unit

Vivarail 230002. BEN JONES.

Vivarail’s first two-car battery unit is in the final-build stages and is due to run on the national network this summer, the company confirmed on February 21.

Two-car 230002, converted from redundant D-Stock, has been approved for passenger use and is the first production battery unit in the UK. The company described it as “a simple and elegant design that will allow battery trains to replace diesel units with a minimum of time and effort”.

Power is provided by two lithium ion batteries per vehicle (four per train). This provides 106kWh, requiring an eight-minute charge at the end of each journey. Vivrail said that with a ten-minute charge that range is extended to 50 miles. As battery technology improves, so these distances can be extended.

In terms of safety, Vivarail said: “The lithium ion batteries on our trains work only within defined temperature parameters and performance is constantly monitored - so should an incident occur it can be quickly contained and the gases will be filtered before being allowed to dissipate naturally.” 

A seven-year lifespan is expected for the batteries. They fit into a battery raft using the same space as a diesel genset.

The two-car ‘230’ can be charged via existing overhead line electrification or third-rail, while for non-electrified routes Vivarail has developed a static battery bank as an alternative charger.

  • For the full story, read RAIL 847, published on February 28, and available digitally on Android and iPad from February 24.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 21/02/2018 23:44

    Class 230’s are ideal to operate on smaller branch lines aswell replacing the Class 142’s and Class 143’s Pacers. With WM Trains that have ordered some of the Class 230’s to operate on the Bletchley-Bedford Line. And there were plans for Greater Anglia to order some of the Class 230’s to work on the Marks Tey-Sudbury branch line. Known as D-Train for Anglia that you Rail Magazine first published it back in 2015. But instead new Class 755’s will operate on that branch line from next year.

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  • pwharley - 22/02/2018 13:20

    This would be perfect for the Cardiff Bay branch. It could recharge during layover at Cardiff Queen Street station (via a short length of OHLE).

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  • I.M. - 23/02/2018 10:26

    Fantastic idea, would work well on the Windsor, Marlow and Henley branches on the GWR

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  • John - 25/06/2018 12:49

    Wiki states: "It was announced in June 2018 that from 2019 refurbished Class 230 Metro trains with battery power plants and a diesel engine as a failsafe are to be introduced between Wrexham and Bidston. There is an intention in 2022 to extend from Bidston onto the Merseyrail Wirral Line taking trains into the Liverpool and Birkenhead underground sections on electrified 3rd rail track using bimodal versions of the trains with a 3rd rail pickup" It gives a link to this press article: Also, will the trains run around the loop under Liverpool's city centre rather than just terminate at the disused platform 2 at James St? I was under the impression that tanks of diesel fuel cannot be taken into the Merseyrail underground stations and tunnels, even if hybrid diesel engines are not running, if they could then diesel/3rd rail trains would have been running decades ago. If the trains are to run from Wrexham into the Liverpool tunnels then I assume they would be 3rd rail and battery only, with no diesel engines. Once running onto the Wirral Line the trains should be under the control of Merseyrail, with the Bidston-Wrexham Line being a part of the Merseyrail metro. Matters are blurred. Merseyrail are acquiring new trains from Switzerland, designed to be hybrid 3rd rail and battery. What is happening? Will Transport for Wales run their battery electric 3rd rail trains on the same tracks as Merseyrail?

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