The basis of a class 230 is upcycled former London Underground D78 stock, originally built by Metro Cammell around 1980. The rebuild by Vivarail retains the original aluminium bodyshells, frames & bogies with refurbished interiors, which include a USB charging socket at every seat.
When the D78 stock was withdrawn from London underground, Vivarail purchased 150 power cars and around 300 carriages for conversion into class 230 D-Trains.
The concept of the class 230 is simple, but ingenious. The third rail pickup gear and associated electrics are removed from a D78 set, which is then completely refurbished, inside and out before adding the relevant power supply to meet the customers needs.
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Vivarail currently offer the class 230 in four different variants:
DMU: as a diesel multiple unit.
BEMU: as a battery electric multiple unit, which contains the latest rechargeable batteries. Vivarail is at the forefront of rechargeable battery technology.
EMU: as an electric multiple unit.
HYBRID: a diesel multiple unit capable of charging on board batteries and switching to battery electric mode when required.
The unit on which was demonstrated at Bo’ness was BEMU 230002, which is the rechargeable battery variant. On the run from Bo’ness to Manuel, the unit climbed the steep hill between Kinneil Halt and Birkhill without any problem at all and showed very impressive acceleration capability.
Both inside and out, the unit is very quiet and Vivarail have made an excellent job of the external and internal refurbishments, which are to a very high standard, making the class 230 look like a brand new train, which, in effect it actually is.
Whilst battery electric trains are not a new concept; indeed, a battery electric multiple unit was introduced on the Deeside line in Aberdeenshire in March 1958; there is a world of difference between the batteries of then and now and the technology of rechargeable batteries has developed in leaps and bounds. The batteries in 230002 are in removable packs and can be easily removed for maintenance or upgraded as the technology develops.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the class 230 in battery electric form, is ideal for a short branch lines and could possibly be their saviour. It’s quiet, clean and green, and, in these days where environmental solutions are at the forefront of peoples minds, this innovative concept might just be the cost effective solution to removing older polluting diesel traction.
I did an overnighter at Carlisle on 28/29th September, 2018. From 07:00 there were East Coast Main Line diversions, due to engineering work at Grantshouse and, in addition to plenty of freight, there was celebrity electric loco, 86259 ‘Les Ross’; steam locomotive 45699 ‘Galatea’ & Deltic 55009 ‘Alycidon’ on railtours. What a day!! I met up with my mate Ken Browne, who arrived on the Saturday morning to video the diversions.
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Here is a list of the locomotives & multiple-units seen:
Railreports is primarily a ‘one man band’, i.e. me, and, although I do have contributions from like minded friends, I still have to do all the writing, collating, photo editing and web page editing. Because of this, and particularly when several trips or sessions are close together, it is often difficult to write a blog for each one to the standard of past posts.
With this in mind, I have decided to streamline the blog reports, so that they might be posted nearer to the time in which they actually happen, (ideally within two to five days of the event).
Blog listings will now be more akin to actual reports as oppose to the ‘story telling’ model used in the past and textual posts will only be posted when there is news or as part of a larger general article or opinion piece.
The full list of changes (in relation to site visits), are:
Textual story-type pieces about site visits will disappear.
A full listing of locomotives and multiple-units will remain.
A full listing of loco hauled sightings & headcodes will remain.
If only one photo is available, it will be shown as a header photo, however, if several photos are available, they will be shown in a slideshow (as at present). The process of editing and captioning of photos, which I do to photo journalistic standard, is a very time consuming process and because of this, some slideshows may be updated at a later date. If a slideshow is updated, I will notify readers of this by means of an appended comment to the relevant post in the Railreports Facebook page. For people who do not have a Facebook account, or are not connected to the websites’ Facebook page, I may add a ‘recent events’ page to the website detailing photo updates etc., but this is still very much in the planning stage.
Travel details will no longer feature as part of a general blog, although I will still maintain rail travel records and have plans to present this information in a slightly different format at a later date.
I decided to go to Carlisle today. It wan’t really planned, but last night, after a fairly heavy week at work, I booked tickets online and headed this morning for the border city.
I left my car at Stirling, and before departing, I saw the northbound Caledonian Sleeper, which ran about thirty-five minutes late, and which was quickly followed by 4H47, the Mossend Yard-Inverness ‘Tesco’ intermodal.
The journey down to Carlisle was pretty uneventful except for the observation that many passengers don’t seem to understand how the seat reservation system works. They just pile onto the train and try to push people out of their seats, only to find they are in the wrong carriage, or at the wrong end of the train. It’s not rocket science…. I’d hate to see these people try to complete a tax return … 😛
Fifteen minutes into the journey, from Glasgow, people were still arriving in my carriage, having been at the wrong end of the train, (a Transpennine Express class 350 emu). The carriages were clearly marked with seat reservation tickets placed in the correct locations. I had an Advance Single (and therefore a mandatory seat reservation), and found my seat around ten seconds after boarding.
At Carlisle, I noticed that the footbridge between platforms three and four has had a makeover with new high visibility handrails and new tread underfoot, no doubt to comply with disability legislation.
There was a steady stream of freight in the early to mid-morning period, as is usual for Carlisle and there was a railtour from Norwich, which was top and tailed with DRS class 68’s. Unfortunately a few selfish individuals hogged the front of the leading loco, much to the disdain of the waiting photographers, (myself included), and in the end, they had to be ‘persuaded’ to move.
I spent most of the afternoon in the company of a chap who had arrived on the tour and we had a very pleasant and interesting conversation on subjects wide and varied.
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Northern Rail were on strike again today, so there were no loco hauled Cumbrian Coast services. There was a very limited Newcastle service and a couple of return Leeds workings, but nothing at all to Whitehaven or Barrow-in-Furness.
This brings me to the biggest annoyance of the day. Not so much the strike itself. Everyone has their own opinion about that, including me, but my major concern was people who intended to catch connection services to Barrow, Whitehaven and stations on that line.
A bus service had been laid on for patrons of that line, but people still arrived dutifully at platform two, (the departure point for these trains), and waited for their train. If I had a pound for the number of people I re-directed back to the main concourse for a bus….
I understand that there may be political implications in asking the station staff (who work for Virgin West Coast) to re-direct Northern passengers, but why didn’t Northern have a manager, or at the very least, adequate signage to help their already beleaguered passengers to complete their journey, albeit by bus. It’s almost as if they want to lose the custom….
Look after your passengers Northern, or soon you won’t have any.
I headed for Fife this morning with the aim of traveling either to Dalmeny or North Queensferry to see the 1Z44 Linlithgow-Tweedbank SRPS ‘Forth Bridge & Scottish Borders’ railtour which travels from Linlithgow; across the Forth Bridge and around the Fife Circle, before heading back over the Forth Bridge towards Edinburgh and onward to Tweedbank in the Borders. These tours are steam hauled on the outward trip and diesel hauled on the return and run every Sunday in August. Today the steam locomotive was LMS/Stanier class five 4-6-0, 44871 and the diesel was WCRC class 37, 37516 ‘Loch Laidon’.
I had a bit of a late start and opted to go to North Queensferry, where I’d only expected to see the tour travel south, having completed the Fife Circle leg of the tour, but I was in for a big surprise. When I checked Realtime Trains at 10:44, I discovered that the empty coaching stock had not yet left Bo’ness Exchange Sidings for Linlithgow; where it had been due at 08:52; due to a signalling fault which had locked the points that connect the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway (SRPS) to the main line at Manuel.
After checking Realtime Trains, I noticed that the train had finally departed for Linlithgow 156 minutes late, however, it had no sooner departed from Linlithgow when it had to stop on the Winchburgh Jn-Dalmeny Jn branch line for watering. This stop was scheduled and nineteen minutes are allowed for this in the timetable. It did lose more time though as it was 162 minutes late by the time it passed me at North Queensferry, heading towards Fife.
I waited for the train to get around the Fife Circle and head back towards Edinburgh and the borders, by which time, it had made up around twelve minutes, though realistically, it was never going to make up enough time to get back to anywhere near it’s schedule. Full marks to the crew though for trying.
Once the tour has passed, I headed to Larbert and spent the afternoon there. I had intended to go from there to Polmont to see the ECS movements associated with the tour, but a quick check showed that the tour was some ninety minutes down, meaning a very late arrival. As I was early shift in the morning, I decided not to hang around and headed home for tea.