GWR acquires Vivarail assets

The British rail operator Great Western Railway has completed the purchase of a number of assets from emission-free battery and hybrid trains manufacturer Vivarail, which entered administration last December.

GWR has agreed contracts to buy intellectual property, rolling stock and equipment relating to the development of high-performance battery and FastCharge technology designed to support wider introduction of battery-powered trains on the UK’s rail network.

The deal secures the future of planned trials of the technology in a real-world environment, which GWR was supporting between West Ealing and Greenford.

The company has also employed nine former Vivarail staff to support the trials and project 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,” GWR Engineering Director Simon Green said.

The transaction is part of GWR strategy “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 Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan,” Simon Green explained.

In 2019, Vivarail has launched the FastCharge technology demonstrating the capabilities of the system marking the conclusion of a 12-month project supported by a grant from the Accelerating Innovation in Rail 4 competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by InnovateUK to develop new technology.
Charge times can be as little as 7 minutes even for a 60-miles (96.5 km) journey for the train to draw enough power to run daily services.

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