Built in unison with the DVT’s operated out of King’s Cross on the East Coast Mainline, the MkIII Driving Van Trailers were constructed in 1988 to work with locomotive hauled stock on the West Coast Mainline out of London Euston, saving the need for additional locomotives on empty stock movements at the terminal stations.
52 of these vehicles were created and put to work with Class 86’s, 87’s and 90’s on trains between Euston, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, being positioned at the London end of the train. The Great Eastern Mainline however is the only exception, where the DVT’s are at the country end, a practice used since the days of the DBSO (Driving Break Standard Open) cab-control cars.
However, due to laws denying the passenger accommodation in the leading carriage of a train travelling at over 100mph (following the 1984 Polmont Rail Crash where a DBSO struck a Cow, killing 13), the DVT’s were not used as an extra passenger carriage, but instead are used for the storage of large items of luggage and bicycles.
These original DVT’s were used by InterCity and later Virgin Trains until the introduction of the Class 390’s and Class 221’s on the West Coast resulted in the withdrawal of all Loco-hauled services in 2005, after which a large majority of the fleet was put into storage.
Whilst 14 went into service on the Great Eastern Mainline out of Liverpool Street with then operator ONE Anglia, the rest languished at MOD Long Marston awaiting a future.
Thankfully a future did come for some, as in 2008 Wrexham & Shropshire purchased a small fleet of 6 DVT’s for use on their trains between London and Wrexham, a service
which is now operated by Chiltern as far as Birmingham following W&S’s demise in 2011.
Other returns to work have included 3 in use with Arriva Trains Wales on the ‘Premier’ service from Cardiff to Holyhead, 1 in service with Virgin Trains (which has since been recently retired), and 5 in service with Network Rail. Two however have been scrapped after many years of neglect, and the remainder of the fleet continue to rot away in varying conditions awaiting an uncertain future.