UK: GWR Steps In to Save Fast-Charging Battery Trial

Great Western Railway (GWR) has agreed contracts to buy several assets from Vivarail, which entered administration at the end of 2022.

The rail operator is purchasing intellectual property, rolling stock and equipment relating to the development of high-performance battery and FastCharge technology.

This will support wider introduction of battery-powered trains in the UK, and secures the future of trials of the technology in a real-world environment.

Class 230 battery-powered train
Class 230 battery-powered train

GWR had already been working closely with Vivarail on trials of this technology between West Ealing and Greenford. Engineering Director Simon Green has said he’s delighted it’s been able to step in and ensure this project continues.

GWR has also employed nine former Vivarail staff to support the trials and project development.

Simon Green, Engineering Director at GWR, said:

“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 (DfT) to get the project back on track.

“This work is a key part of our commitment to reduce the carbon emissions of our train fleet with a view to removing all diesel-only traction from the network by 2040, in line with the UK Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.”

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