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Reuse is the Best Way to Recycle. After refurbishment ex-District Line trains now run between Bletchley and Bedford

October 11, 2019 4:23 PM

Class230 waits at BletchleyRe-use is near the top of the Recycling Hierarchy and Vivarail has as its main objective the reuse of obsolete electric train units that used to run on London's District Line. The company was founded in 2012 with the aim of heavily overhauling London Underground D78 Stock and upcycling them into new BR Class 230 diesel-electric multiple units (DEMUs), and was the brainchild of Adrian Shooter, the now retired former chairman of DB Regio UK Ltd (better known in the UK as Chiltern Railways). Vivarail acquired over 200 units for this purpose.

The first customer for Class 230 units was West Midlands Trains, which ordered three 2-car DEMUs in October 2017. Subsequently, Transport for Wales Rail ordered a total of five 3-car sets, to be built as bi-modal multiple units (BMMU)s, in June 2018.

After extensive development and testing West Midlands accepted their first 2-car train in April 2019 for service on the 24-mile Marston Vale Line between Bletchley and Bedford. A further two trains were delivered in June 2019. One train will be in reserve with two providing an hourly service Monday to Saturday. There is no Sunday service as yet.

Class230 InteriorNick Hollinghurst, Hertfordshire County Councillor for Tring, who has an interest in low CO2-emission transport, took a ride to see for himself. He reported that the "new" trains were smart, clean and spacious and travelled very quietly. There is an automatic engine cut-out at stations to save fuel and reduce pollution. Passengers appeared to be very pleased with the new service.

Cllr Hollinghurst said afterwards, "I wonder if these could be successfully deployed on the Abbey Line from Watford to St Albans. Perhaps the reduction in running costs could help pay for that passing loop we need at Bricket Wood?"

The pictures show a train waiting at Bletchley and also the spacious interior.