Driving Van Trailer
A Driving Van Trailer (DVT) is a purpose-built control car railway vehicle that allows the driver to operate a locomotive at the opposite end of a train. Trains operating with a DVT therefore do not require the locomotive to be moved around to the other end of the train at terminal stations. Unlike many other control cars, DVTs resemble locomotives (specifically Class 91) and thus when the train is operating in "push" mode it does not appear to be travelling backwards. The vehicles have no passenger accommodation due to rules in place at the time of building that prohibited passengers in the leading vehicles of trains that travel at more than 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). Historically, it was believed that a train would be unstable at high speeds unless pulled from the front but extensive testing, and the experience of very fast trains with central power cars (e.g. British Rail APT, Eurostar) have altered this view.
|British Rail DVT|
|In service||1988 – present|
|Manufacturer||British Rail Engineering Limited, Metro-Cammell, Breda (Under sub-contract)|
|Car length||18.83 m (61 ft 9 in)|
|Width||2.71 m (8 ft 11 in)|
|Height||3.88 m (12 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||43.7 t (43.0 long tons; 48.2 short tons)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
On the InterCity 225 (IC225) sets operating on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) the Mark 4 DVTs and locomotives operate in push-pull formation utilising a time-division multiplexer to send control signals along specially screened cables which run the length of the train. The locomotives usually face away from London, only being changed occasionally in rare circumstances.
On the original Mark 3 DVTs, which operated on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), they used the RCH jumpers to carry the signals therefore allowing the same cables to be used for lighting and the public address system, as well as driver-guard signalling. The Class 86 and Class 87 locomotives had to be retrofitted with RCH cables, replacing the older in-class only multiple working jumpers.
In addition to the driver's cab, some DVTs have luggage and cycle storage space and a guard's office.
When a train is operated by a DVT, the control signals are encoded and multiplexed onto the cables by the TDM equipment in the DVT. At the locomotive, these signals are demultiplexed by the TDM equipment, and the signals are used to control the locomotive. The air braking system is operated directly from whichever cab the driver is driving from. If the TDM fails and cannot be reconfigured, the train may still operate, but if the DVT is leading, it will be necessary to uncouple the locomotive and attach it to the front of the train.
The DVT concept is similar to the Mark 2 DBSO but unlike its predecessor, which was rebuilt from existing stock, it was a new build vehicle manufactured specifically for this purpose. The first design of DVT is designed to match Mark 2 D, E and F and Mark 3 coaches. The second design has a narrower profile, similar to Mark 4 coaches, which will enable it to be converted to tilting operation if required in the future.
Mark 3 DVTs can be seen in service in the UK today with DB Cargo UK, with Great Eastern Main Line services and powered by Class 90 locomotives. Chiltern Railways utilises Mark 3 DVTs on some of their Birmingham/Oxford to London Marylebone services; these are powered by Class 68 locomotives.
Mark 4 DVTs are operated by London North Eastern Railway and powered by Class 91s. They were also powered by the unique Class 89 Co-Co locomotive which once operated on the same route but is now preserved.
Mark 3 DVT
Greater Anglia operate push-pull services between London Liverpool Street and Norwich in conjunction with Class 90 locomotives. These DVTs were originally used by Virgin Trains until the Pendolinos were fully operational. All the WCML DVTs needed refurbishing when they came off lease and were re-painted into 'one' colours.
DB Cargo UK
DB Cargo UK (formerly known as EWS and DB Schenker) operate a Mark 3 DVT as part of their DB Cargo Company Train. 82146 is painted in the silver colours of the company train and operates with a Class 67, usually 67029, and three Mark 3 coaches.
Following the cessation of their services, the Wrexham & Shropshire fleet of DVTs transferred to sister company Chiltern Railways and started operating on Birmingham to London Marylebone services. They have been further modified to work with the power doors that Chiltern have fitted to the Mk3 coaches and to have a generator fitted to enable Electric Train Supply and compressed air to be provided to the coaches when the Class 68 (latterly Class 67) locomotive is not running, such as when in a terminus station and when stabled.
As a result of the modification to work with the Class 67s and Class 68s, the Chiltern DVTs have been renumbered in the 82/3 series although they do retain the ability to work with TDM fitted electric locomotives.
In early 2013, several former Virgin Trains DVTs, including 82129 and 82145 have been acquired by Network Rail and modified to work with diesel locomotives for use on Network Rail test trains. Part of the modification work includes the integration of a diesel generator to provide power for on-board systems.
Direct Rail Services
In early 2013, the ownership of former Virgin Trains spare DVT 82101 passed to Direct Rail Services, to be modified to test AAR multiple working with the new Class 68 locomotives. 82101 was chosen as it already had OTMR fitted from its time as Virgin's spare DVT.
Transport for Wales
In a similar vein to WSMR, the Arriva Trains Wales Gerallt Gymro Premier Service between Holyhead and Cardiff moved from Class 57 + Mk.2 coaches to Class 67 + Mk.3 coaches + DVT on 10 October 2012. Three Class 67 locomotives have been re-liveried into Arriva Trains Wales' blue livery, the three being 67001, 67002, and 67003, along with 3 DVTs, 82306, 82307 and 82308, which also received the new livery. However, the DVTs carry ATW branding, while the 67s do not (as the 67s allocated to the service change regularly). In October 2018, the franchise along with the existing rolling stock, including the 3 DVTs, were passed on to Transport for Wales and are still in use.
Virgin Trains used to operate push-pull services on WCML between London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow in conjunction with Class 86, Class 87 and Class 90 locomotives, but latterly the services went on to be run exclusively by Class 390 Pendolinos. Virgin retained two DVTs for backup purposes (82101 and 82126). Both DVTs have been fitted with on-train monitoring recorders (OTMR). As of July 2009, 82126 had been repainted into a Pendolino silver/black livery, in order to bring it in line with the newer trains (hence its nickname 'pretendolino'). In November 2014 the "Pretendolino" was transferred to Norwich Crown Point depot to enter service with Abellio Greater Anglia having come to the end of its agreed lease to Virgin Trains.
Iarnród Éireann took delivery of 3 Mark 3 Control Cars in 1993 for use on the Dublin-Galway "Cú na Mara" Express services. They were phased out in 2008 and replaced with DMU Stock.
Wrexham & Shropshire
Wrexham & Shropshire started operating push-pull services with DVTs in October 2008 between Wrexham General and London Marylebone in conjunction with Class 67 diesel locomotives following the start of the service on 28 April 2008. The DVTs required modification to work with the Class 67, involving adding a notched power controller as is used in the locomotive and a 27 wire jumper cable as used on the GM EMD locomotives which is known as the AAR Multiple Working system. These DVTs were originally used by Virgin Trains until the Pendolinos were fully operational.
Although these services did start operation in April 2008, no DVTs were initially used due to delays in the refurbishment of the units. Up to mid October WSMR trains used two Class 67 Locomotives - one at either end of the train. On 11 October 2008 the first DVT entered traffic on a Wrexham & Shropshire service.
With the reduction in service levels from December 2010, a Mark 3 set was hired to Chiltern Railways to operate a Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone peak-hour service. On 28 January 2011 operations ceased after a review concluded there was no prospect of the business ever being profitable.
|Key:||In service||Stored||Scrapped||Other use|
|Original Number||New Number||Name||Operator||Livery||Status||Notes|
|82101||–||101 Squadron‡||Direct Rail Services||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Railway Technical Centre, Derby|
|82102||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82103||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82104||82309||–||Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways Mainline||In service||Fitted with ETS Generator|
|82105||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82106||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Scrapped||Scrapped at C F Booth, Rotherham in February 2019.|
|82107||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82108||82308||–||Transport for Wales||Arriva Trains Wales Express||In service|
|82110||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Scrapped||Scrapped at C F Booth, Rotherham in 2019. Cab saved.|
|82111||–||–||Network Rail||Network Rail yellow||In service||Modified for use on test trains|
|82112||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82113||19001||–||–||Blue||Other use||Converted to Class 19 experimental vehicle at Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway.|
|82114||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82115||–||Liverpool John Moores University‡||–||BR Blue||Stored||Stored at Wolverton works|
|82116||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82117||82301||–||Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways Mainline||In service||Fitted with ETS Generator|
|82118||–||Britannia‡||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82119||–||–||–||–||Scrapped||Scrapped at MoD Caerwent in November 2005.|
|82120||–||Liverpool Chamber of Commerce‡||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82121||–||Carlisle Cathedral‡||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82122||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Scrapped||Scrapped at C F Booth, Rotherham in 2019.|
|82123||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Scrapped||Scrapped at C F Booth, Rotherham in 2019.|
|82124||–||The Girls' Brigade‡||Network Rail||Network Rail yellow||In service||Modified for use on test trains|
|82125||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Used as a storage vehicle at the Mid Norfolk Railway, Dereham|
|82126||–||Wembley Traincare Depot‡||Direct Rail Services||Virgin Trains Pendolino||Stored||Stored at Railway Technical Centre, Derby|
|82127||–||Abraham Darby‡||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82128||–||–||–||–||Scrapped||Scrapped at C F Booth, Rotherham in December 2012.|
|82129||–||–||Network Rail||Network Rail yellow||In service||Modified for use on test trains|
|82130||82304||–||Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways Mainline||In service||Fitted with ETS Generator|
|82131||82307||–||Transport for Wales||Arriva Trains Wales Express||In service|
|82132||–||West Midlands Industry '96‡||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82133||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82134||82305||–||Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways Mainline||In service||Fitted with ETS Generator|
|82135||82303||Spirit of Cumbria‡||Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways Mainline||In service||Fitted with ETS Generator|
|82136||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82137||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82138||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82139||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82140||–||–||–||–||Scrapped||Scrapped at C F Booth, Rotherham in January 2015.|
|82141||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82143||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
|82144||82306||–||Transport for Wales||Arriva Trains Wales Express||In service|
|82145||–||–||Network Rail||Network Rail yellow||In service||Modified for use on test trains|
|82146||–||–||DB Cargo UK||DB Cargo UK silver||In service|
|82147||–||The Red Devils‡||–||–||Scrapped|
|82148||–||International Spring Fair‡||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82149||–||101 Squadron‡||Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh||Virgin Trains||Other use||Training vehicle for fire-fighters at Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh|
|82150||–||–||–||Virgin Trains||Stored||Stored at Long Marston|
|82151||82302||–||Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways Mainline||In service||Fitted with ETS Generator|
|82152||–||–||Greater Anglia||Greater Anglia||In service|
- ‡ – DVT has been denamed
Mark 4 DVT
Mark 4 DVTs were built in 1988 by Metro Cammell at their Washwood Heath plant in Birmingham and were introduced to the ECML with the IC225 rakes of Mark 4 coaches. They operate with class 91 locomotives using the TDM system via UIC screened cables through the nine Mark 4 coaches of the rake.
Initially operated by British Rail's InterCity sector in its familiar livery, following privatisation of the railways the services were taken over by Sea Containers under the Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) brand but following a change of operator to National Express East Coast in December 2007 the vehicles were rebranded with NXEC logos and a white stripe whilst retaining the overall GNER blue colour scheme . However, the NXEC franchise had collapsed in November 2009 meaning that the original plan to repaint all the DVTs in NXEC colours were cancelled. The Government operated East Coast took over the franchise and as a result the East Coast logos had replaced the NXEC Logos on the white stripe. In 2010, a silver/grey livery was introduced and this was eventually repainted on all the Mark 4 DVTs by 2013. When Virgin Trains East Coast took over the franchise in March 2015, two of the DVTs were repainted in the Virgin livery whilst most other units temporarily received a Virgin Logo. As of February 2018, all Mark 4 DVTs were in the Virgin Livery. In June 2018, Publicly owned LNER London North Eastern Railway inherited all Mark 4 DVTs previously operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.
|82200||LNER||LNER||In service||Was involved in the Hatfield rail crash.|
|82205||LNER||LNER/Flying Scotsman||In service|
|82216||LNER||LNER||Stored||Stored at Worksop.|
|82217||Off to the Races‡||LNER||LNER||Stored||Stored at Worksop.|
|82219||Duke of Edinburgh‡||LNER||LNER||In service|
|82221||–||–||Scrapped||Scrapped after the Great Heck rail crash in February 2001.|
|82226||TFW||TFW||Stored||Stored at Worksop.|
|82229||LNER||LNER||Stored||Stored at Worksop.|
|82231||LNER||LNER||Stored||Stored at Worksop.|
- ‡ – DVT has been denamed
Mark 5 DVT
The Mark 5 DVT was to be part of British Rail's ill-fated InterCity 250 project on the West Coast Main Line. This would have resembled the Class 93 locomotive, but contain a driving cab, restaurant and bicycle storage area.
Mark 5A DVT
In 2018 new British Rail Mark 5A were tested at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic. When they enter service in the United Kingdom, the Mark 5A driving trailers will be operated by TransPennine Express and hauled by Class 68 locomotives. They will be classified as Driving Tourist Standard Open (DTSO).
Accidents and incidents
DVTs have been involved in very few accidents.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Driving Van Trailers of Britain.|
- Chiltern commence Birmingham loco-hauled Rail Express 14 December 2010
- "Wrexham-Shropshire-London direct rail link to end". BBC News Online. London. 26 January 2011.
- Wrexham & Shropshire to cease operations on Friday 28 January Wrexham & Shropshire
- Wrexham & Shropshire railway company to cease operating Daily Post (North Wales) 26 January 2011
- Wrexham & Shropshire to cease operations on 28 January 2011 Wrexham & Shropshire
- "Chiltern deploys its former Wrexham stock" The Railway Magazine issue 1324 August 2011 page 78