The UK’s Great Western Railway (GWR) is to acquire the intellectual property, rolling stock and equipment relating to the development of high-performance battery charging technology from British rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail, which entered administration in December. 
The agreement secures the future trials of Vivarail-developed FastCharge technology for Class 230 units on the West Ealing – Greenford branch in west London, agreed in February 2022 and funded with GBP2.15m (EUR2.4m) from the the Department for Transport’s Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline. 
The trials will see a three-car train fitted with lithium-ion batteries used in service on the 3.8km (2.4-mile) route; rapid-charging equipment is to be installed at West Ealing station. The unit has a range of 100km (62 miles) and off-network tests have shown that its batteries can be recharged in ten minutes. GWR has also employed nine former Vivarail staff to support the trials and future development. 
“We’ve been working closely with the Vivarail team on this exciting project for some time, and we are delighted we have been able to step in and make sure its important work can continue,” said GWR Engineering Director, Simon Green. 
“There have clearly been some setbacks that mean we will need to review the existing plans and timescales, but we will continue to work with Network Rail and the Department for Transport to get the project back on track.” 
A GWR Class 230 unit. Great Western Railway 
Vivarail entered administration on 1 December. The company has supplied its D-Train multiple-units to customers including Transport for Wales, West Midlands Trains and South Western Railway, which runs the 13.7km (8.5-mile) line on the Isle of Wight. It has also sent vehicles to the US as part of a ‘Pop-Up Metro’ demonstrator concept. The units are repurposed former London Underground D-Stock using a mixture of diesel and electric traction. 
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