The innovative scheme led by a new organisation called Vivarail involves the conversion of withdrawn 1970s-built London Underground ‘D78’ cars with Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine (the bigger brother of the 2.2-litre four-cylinder Defender TDCi engine), mated to a generating set that will provide power for the existing electric motors.
The Duratorq’s efficiency and stop-start technology will produce a train that’s much more environmentally friendly than some existing designs. Although the top speed of 60mph is much lower, the increased power-to-weight ratio of the aluminium ex-Underground cars mean that acceleration will be more rapid, and offer improved train timetabling overall.
Vivarail’s Chairman Adrian Shooter is no stranger to LRO. His Nene Overland-built Defender 130 custom camper appeared in the June 2014 issue. Speaking to LRO’s sister title RAIL magazine, Adrian said: ‘These are, effectively, new trains made affordable by re-using long-life components like the body and bogies, and incorporating the most modern technology to benefit passengers.’
For more information, see railmagazine.com