TRIALS of a converted Underground train on a London Midland route have been put on hold indefinitely, and public funding for the trial service has been withdrawn.
The D-Train, developed by Warwickshire-based Vivarail, uses diesel engines to generate traction current for the existing motors, but a test run had to be halted when a fire broke out in one of the engines as the three-car set passed through Kenilworth on 30 December.
Vivarail has launched a full investigation and said it did not expect the incident to have any long-term effect, but the West Midlands Combined Authority has withdrawn financial support because there 'is no longer enough time' to include D-Train proposals in imminent bids for the next West Midlands franchise.
It had been hoped that the first D-Train, now known as Class 230, could have entered trial public service between Coventry and Nuneaton next month.
A spokesman for the WMCA and its partners, which include Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council, said future opportunities would be discussed 'for this line and other routes in the region where the shortage of available rolling stock is impacting on capacity and service operation'.
A spokesman for Vivarail said: "We entirely understand the position of our partners in relation to the trial, especially with regard to the franchise timings. We are very grateful to all the partners for the support they have given, and continue to give, us as a local company. We are carrying out our investigations into the cause of the fire and will issue an interim report on that early next week, which will be followed by the full findings within the month. It is business as usual at our end and we are confident in the future of the Class 230."