New trains in 2019 Part 2: D Trains

Wednesday 24th April 2019

IMG_5022.jpgIt’s been a long wait with some well over a year late, but finally an avalanche of new trains is entering service; well one train has.

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First off the blocks is the much anticipated Class 230 train which began running on the Marston Vale line between Bedford and Bletchley yesterday. Not so much ‘new trains’ as ‘completely refurbished forty year old former Underground trains now with an added diesel engine’.

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The D Train project is the brainchild of career railwayman Adrian Shooter and his company Vivarail. After a highly successful stint at Chiltern Railways you’d think the highly respected Adrian would use a well earned retirement to put his feet up, relax and play with his own train set in his back garden. Not a bit of it, he foresaw the opportunity to use former District Line trains reengineered and refurbished for further use on a variety of branch lines around the country and after much development work his initiative is finally paying off with orders for trains and the first actual train now in passenger service.

I took a ride this morning full of anticipation and wasn’t disappointed. I’m not surprised passengers felt they were travelling on a new train; the makeover is that good.

D stock trains used to have four single leaf doors per carriage when on the District Line, but on the new Class 230s these have been reduced by two enabling more two by two seating to be introduced – both airline style and as foursomes around tables – in addition to the longitude seats still in place.

The table shown below is in the spot where there was once a door.

IMG_5002.jpgAnd these are no ‘ironing board’ seats; these are brand new as well as reupholstered old longitudinal seats which are actually comfortable to sit in and with a smart moquette design too showing a nod to their District Line heritage as well as the new London North Western Railway corporate colours.

IMG_5018.jpgNeat usb sockets are handily incorporated into the longitudinal seats as well as underneath the new seats.

IMG_5017.jpgThere’s a roomy accessible toilet on board as well as wi-fi.

What’s also impressive is you hardly notice the noise of the engine. If you didn’t know, you might think you were still travelling on an electric powered train. It gives a very smooth ride.

The cove panel space used in Underground days for commercial advertising has been well utilised with a plethora of messages and information about the trains and the Marston Vale line.

IMG_5008.jpgIMG_5005.jpgOne noticeable oddity was the length of time it took to not only release the doors but for the ‘open’ button to light up and then react after being pressed. Not much of an issue on the Marston Vale line but could be critical on a tightly timed line such as Bidston to Wrexham Central where the D Train is destined for later in the year.

London North Western have specified a two coach train which offers a step up in capacity from the single coach Class 153 trains which are also still in service on the hourly frequency, so if you’re paying a visit for a ride imminently watch out for what train is on which diagram.

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And if you have time it’s worth a stop off at the lovely Ridgmont station ….

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where there’s a delightful tea room………

IMG_5031.jpgand a fascinating heritage museum staffed by knowledgeable and very friendly volunteers.IMG_5039.jpgIMG_5036.jpg

Well done to Vivarail, London North Western Railway and Sam Jessup Design for the great work on these ‘new’ trains. It’s set a high standard for the coming weeks which will see a whole variety of new trains hit the tracks.

Roger French

7 thoughts on “New trains in 2019 Part 2: D Trains

  1. New trains? Coff.

    Social media is currently full of trainspotters dribbling over the 230, but genuine users are conspicuous by their absence.
    It’s interesting that WMT have chosen to have the 230 replacing the two-car 150 circuit, not the single-car 153 circuit. I would have expected them to replace the 153 so that there’s an immediate win in the form of a capacity improvement. Perhaps WMT don’t want comparisons being made between the 150 and the 230, although I’m not sure why.

    If it lives up to the hype, the 230 should be a good thing for the Marston Vale line, but I think I’ll wait to see what the regular users have to say once the units are bedded in and the newness has worn off. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Roger. I must have missed you by a couple of hours. I had a couple of rides this afternoon. I was impressed overall, though I think as you say there can be some door delay problems. John Parkin

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you see ‘All the trains’ Geoff Marshall who also posted a video blog of the line today. The train looks good apart from all the annoying door beeps. At least commercial operators left to their own devices think about the comfort of the passengers with a nicely upholstered seat even though it is a short journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Be interesting to see how they also perform on the Chester Crewe route and the very steep Bidston to Wrexham route.
    But they look nice trains, but dependant on how theyre driven and maintained they may well live a good life, or be sold off to heritage railways, time will tell.

    Also the engine under them is the same engine fitted to a lot of Black cabs and the vans delivering your Amazon stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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