London Northwestern Vivarail Class 230 DMU

UK: Vivarail Ltd went into administration on December 1, with the appointment of joint administrators from Grant Thornton UK.

Vivarail produces multiple-units using old London Underground cars and develops battery traction technology.

In a post on LinkedIn, Managing Director Steve McBride wrote ‘it feels like we have performed miracles at times but pedestrian market conditions and a serious helping of mickey taking from one industry player has dealt a severe blow. The task now is to look after our people and find a like-minded partner to salvage the best of what we have achieved.’

Grant Thornton UK said the ‘increasingly difficult operating environment and delays to the anticipated upscaling of key net-zero projects and pilots’ had contributed to a funding shortfall ‘that has not been capable of resolution in the timescales available.’

Joint Administrator Jon Roden said ‘we have supported Vivarail in rapidly exploring market appetite for the provision of further investment. However, no solution capable of delivery in the very limited time available has been identified. Whilst it has not been appropriate to continue to trade the Vivarail business in administration, we have presently retained a core team of circa 30 employees and would urge any parties interested in the business and/or its assets to contact us urgently.’

Operator response

SWR Isle of Wight Island Line D-Trains (Photo SWR)

Vivarail maintains the Class 230 diesel multiple-units it supplied for the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford. Operator London Northwestern said Vivarail entering administration meant it was now unable to provide a rail service on the route. The operator was ’working to find alternative solutions’, and in the interim would provide a replacement bus service.

South Western Railway told Rail Business UK it was monitoring developments and would work closely with the administrators to ensure the continued smooth running of its Vivarail Class 484 trains on the Isle of Wight’s Island Line. ‘Whatever the resolution to their situation, we’re confident we will be able to continue to obtain the support needed to maintain the fleet effectively going forward’, said a spokesperson.

Transport for Wales Chief Commercial Officer Alexia Course said ‘we will be in a position to provide an updated statement in the coming days, but our focus remains to bring our Class 230 units into service on our network’.