Friday, 24 May 2024

Are old tube trains going to be returned to service?

Mind the SCRAP! 1970s Tube trains are saved from the junkyard to be put back in service as London overground trains

  • EXCLUSIVE: Vivarail paid £2M for 150 District Line trains which were retired 
  • Great Western Rail bought Vivarail out of liquidation to continue the plan 

An audacious plan to convert old London Underground rolling stock into state-of-the-art battery powered trains could see the first units delivered by the end of the year. 

In 2014, Vivarail paid £2 million to buy 150 former District Line trains which had been retired after 40 years of service. 

Great Western Railway bought Vivarail and its remaining stock when the company went into liquidation earlier this year. 

Now, Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of GWR, believes the 1970s rolling stock could be brought back to life and replace diesel-powered trains on a west London branch line. 

He described the move as ‘ Possibly one of my less conventional decisions – buying 67 former LUL (London Underground Limited) vehicles’.

The former District Line trains, pictured, were purchased in 2014 for £2 million by rail firm Vivarail, who went bankrupt earlier this year

Passengers at a Earl’s Court Station as a District Line train pulls into the station in the 1970s

The firm had planned to refurbish the rolling stock and turning some of the units into battery powered trains

He added: ‘But I believe we can make the project work and get a battery train up and running later this year, with more to follow.’ 

When asked about a potential launch date he said he hopes to have a battery powered train on the Greenford branch by December. 

The old District line rolling stock has proved problematic to convert. In December 2016, firefighters had to rescue 10 people from a train which was undergoing testing just outside Leamington Spar after it caught fire. 

Fortunately nobody was injured but the dramatic incident, which was captured on social media. 

The upgraded trains will be tested on the two-mile Greenford branch before they are considered for other areas. 

Several of the former District Line trains have been sent to the Isle of Wight where they replaced the previous fleet of former tube trains which dated back to 1938. 

The old rolling stock is currently being stored just outside Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire while the carriages await refurbishment. 

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of GWR, believes the 1970s rolling stock could be brought back to life and replace diesel-powered trains on a west London branch line

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