Vivarail today announced that its main manufacturing base will shortly be moving to Southam, near Leamington Spa. The relocation means Vivarail continues to work and invest in the industrial heartland of the Midlands and its core team of skilled workers remain local. The move is driven by Vivarail’s growing orderbook and the development of a full suite of emission-free trains. It demonstrates the solid base Vivarail has attained as a fully matured train manufacturer.
Vivarail began operations five years ago at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC) in Long Marston. At QRTC, Vivarail was able to design, build and test its prototype DEMU using the 3km circular test track as a key part of its approval process. The company then went on to build the UK’s first modern battery train launching unit 230002 in Scotland in 2018, a ground-breaking achievement proving independently powered emission-free battery trains could be brought into service today.
Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said “I find it hard to believe all we have managed to do in such a short space of time. We have grown from start-up to fully fledged manufacturer in a record amount of time and it is with a touch of sadness that we will have to say goodbye to our friends and colleagues at QRTC. However, we need to consolidate all our operations under one roof and our new facility at Southam gives us that opportunity. Rather than being spread amongst three or four different buildings we will all be housed under one roof which will ensure a seamless method of working with stores, design, engineering and production all in one building. It means we can continue to refine our build and delivery processes and to deliver high quality and excellent trains to our customers.”
As well as moving production to Southam, Vivarail will also have a new test track at Barry in South Wales. A contract has been signed with Cambrian Transport to use their one and a half mile length of rail-connected track for testing and mileage accumulation.
John Buxton, MD of Cambrian Transport, said “We are excited that Vivarail have chosen to use our railway to test their innovative trains. Our operations at Barry continue to expand providing training and employment opportunities for local people. This is great news for both our railway and the town”.
Vivarail’s Centre of Excellence in Co Durham will focus on component overhaul, manufacture of systems and sub systems, with a particular emphasis on bogies and wiring. At Bletchley the fleet of trains for West Midlands Railway will be maintained by the Product Support Division. In conjunction with Transport for Wales Vivarail will also shortly be opening a new maintenance site for the Wrexham-Bidston fleet of trains. These diesel/battery hybrid trains are the first of their kind in the UK and are a key stage in Vivarail’s drive to deliver zero-emission trains all built around modern, high performance battery technology.
The growing company is one of the biggest success stories in UK train manufacturing of recent times and has become a fundamental part of industry in both the North East, the Midlands and shortly in Wales.