TRAIN rebuilder Vivarail’s plans to expand have received a boost after it was able to secure a loan worth £1.5 million.
The company was founded five years ago and bought many former District Line cars from London Underground. Their aluminium bodies, although some 40 years old, are still capable of being used in refurbished trains which are being offered as economical and environmentally-friendly rolling stock for local lines.
After some teething troubles Vivarail gained orders for its converted trains for service with the West Midlands Trains franchise and Transport for Wales. Its now-established Class 230 ‘D-Trains’ have also been chosen as the next generation of rolling stock for the Isle of Wight, where Vivarail units are set to replace the 1938 London Underground tube trains which have been running between Ryde and Shanklin for many years.
The modular and fully accessible Vivarail units can run on diesel or electric motors, and trials have also been carried out with battery options, including battery hybrid versions.
Aided by the additional funding from Midlands Engine Investment Fund Debt Finance, the company is moving from its original site within the Quinton Rail Technology Centre at Long Marston to a new and larger home at Southam, near Leamington Spa, where five more jobs are to be created.
Vivarail finance director Ian Wenman said: ‘We are delighted to receive this funding. As a business, our focus is to continue to develop environmentally friendly solutions for the rail industry. We look forward to taking this next step in our growth journey, relocating to a larger site and expanding our team.’
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.