Vivarail may appoint administrators as cash dries up

A pioneering company which led the way in converting redundant trains to new forms of traction is preparing to appoint administrators.

Vivarail, which was founded by Adrian Shooter in 2013, acquired a large fleet of former District Line cars from Transport for London with the intention of re-using their aluminium bodyshells and installing new technology, such as batteries.

Some of the converted rolling stock is now in service in the south Midlands between Bedford and Bletchley and on the Isle of Wight. A small number of trains are also being prepared for service in north Wales and on the Greenford branch of the GWR, while two have been exported to the United States.

Vivarail also celebrated after one of its battery driven units became the first electric train to cross the Forth Bridge during COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

However, the company’s bid to gain new financing has failed so far, and Railnews understands that many ‘D78’ ex-Underground vehicles which had been stored at Long Marston are being scrapped in an attempt to avoid storage costs.

The company took the first step towards administration by filing a Notice of Intent on 23 November.

Managing director Steve McBride said: ‘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. Combined with slow market conditions and delays in reaching certain key commercial arrangements we have had no choice but to file a Notice of Intention to appoint Administrators with the Courts.

‘The next few weeks undoubtedly represents 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. 

‘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.’

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