Fast-charging battery trial to resume after GWR agrees deal to purchase Vivarail assets

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Great Western Railway (GWR) has completed the purchase of several 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 the 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.

GWR engineering director Simon Green said, “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.

“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.

“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 Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan,” Green added.