The Anonymous Widower

Vivarail D-Trains And The Heart Of Wales Line

I’d never really heard of the Heart of Wales Line until it was mentioned in this paragraph in this article on Wales Online about D-Trains running in Wales.

Vivarail spokesman Alice Gillman says the firm’s engineers believe the refurbished rolling stock would be suitable for lines in Wales including the Heart of Wales Line.

It certainly looks like a forgotten line that could certainly use some new rolling stock.

Reading the Wikipedia entry for the line, I come to the following conclusions.

  • The line is mainly single track, but has been upgraded with four modern passing loops and can take freight trains that fir a loading guage of W5.
  • The line is thought to be scenic.
  • The passenger service is only a few trains a day and is mainly run by single coach Class 153 trains.
  • It must have some horrendous operating problems, which could be expensive to handle.

It sounds to me, that this line is a very much underused asset, that if it was given a better train service could help to improve the lives of those in some of the most remotest parts of Wales. It might even bring more tourists to the area.

I must take a trip on the line.

In 2010, I took a train ride from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and after that trip, I came to the conclusion, that that very scenic line needed more capacity.

But five years on there is still not enough diesel multiple units to give these lines an upgraded service.

So as reports are suggesting, could one or more D-Trains be used on the Heart of Wales line?

The journey takes just over three hours with a Class 153 Train, which has a top speed of 75 mph.

So a D-Train would unlikely be faster along the route, as it only has a top speed of sixty. Although, as there are 29 stations on the line, the D-train which has been designed for easy loading and unloading  in London, may actually not be much slower overall.

Imagine a train service with these characteristics.

  • A train with seats arranged in fours around tables by the window.
  • Lots of space for bicycles.
  • Fully-accessible for everyone!
  • Something like Vivarail’s proposed catering system.
  • A clock-face hourly service from Craven Arms to Llanelli.

All is possible with the right number of D-trains.

D-trains offer other advantages.

  • As the D-trains don’t need the sort of specialist depot that most trains need, this must ease maintenance of the trains.
  • More than one train, probably eases the problems of what to do if a train has a serious breakdown or hits a flock of sheep or a snow drift in the middle of nowhere.
  • Don’t forget the novelty value of riding a refurbished London Underground train in some of the most rural parts of Wales.
  • D-trains will be available by the end of 2016.

D-trains may never run on the Heart of Wales Line, but I can certainly see the reasons why Vivarail have thought seriously about the possibility.


September 18, 2015 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,


  1. […] got positive vibes from Vivarail D-trains And The Heart Of Wales Line, but this is not the only place where D-trains could be […]

    Pingback by Who Will Be First To Order Vivarail D-Trains? « The Anonymous Widower | September 20, 2015 | Reply

  2. D-trains will have better acceleration; with the frequency and spacing of stations on the line, timings probably wouldn’t suffer. The unspoilt rural environment would benefit from the quieter running.

    Comment by Chris Walford | February 22, 2020 | Reply

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