Vivarail train

UK: Vivarail has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, after failing to secure new investment. ‘We will now be consulting with our customers and other stakeholders to try and drive the business forwards, but we must be realistic in that if we are unable to deliver a rescue package administration will unfortunately be inevitable’, said Managing Director Steve McBride on November 24.

Vivarail was established in 2013 by UK rail industry veteran Adrian Shooter, and backed by US investor Railroad Development Corp. It has since produced multiple-units using former London Underground metro cars, and developed battery traction technology enabling a train to be recharged in 10 min; a Vivarail Class 230 unit with Fast Charge equipment is to be used on Great Western Railway’s West Ealing – Greenford branch in early 2023.

Vivarail said it had benefitted from the financial support of a sole investment partner since it was founded, but in early 2022 it agreed to operate without reliance on further funding.

A sale process was launched and had received ‘a positive level of interest in recent months given its exciting pipeline of growth opportunities’, but Vivarail ‘faced no choice’ but to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators on November 23.

‘The board and I have worked incredibly hard to secure new investment in recent months, and although we have been encouraged by the level of interest, time is now against us to allow potential investors to step in’, said McBride, saying the company also faced ‘slow market conditions and delays in reaching certain key commercial arrangements’.

He said ‘the next few weeks undoubtedly represent a degree of uncertainty for everyone connected to Vivarail, including our 70 employees who have shown incredible commitment and dedication to decarbonising our railway. During this time management, the board of directors and our advisors will leave no stone unturned in finding a solution.’