Very light rail plans move forward

Posted on 25 Oct 2017 and read 538 times
Very light rail plans move forwardPlans for a very light rail service in Coventry have moved a step closer, with researchers from WMG (at the University of Warwick) (www2.warwick.ac.uk) recently unveiling early vehicle concept designs to representatives from Coventry City Council.

The project — supported by the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Deal (which is subject to approval of the business case) — is set to better connect the City with a ‘state of the art’ rail system that will be cheaper, quieter and more environment-friendly than anything currently available.

The latest plans have been developed through an initial feasibility study.

The very light rail project is intended to develop a supply chain for the manufacture of lightweight rail vehicles and tracks — enabling local authorities to install new community rail services and reduce congestion more easily.

These small rail vehicles will have the capability to operate without a driver, which will reduce the running costs and enable more-frequent services.

They will also be battery-operated, using rapid-charging solutions, so they will not need overhead cables. WMG and Warwick’s School of Engineering are also developing a novel track solution for the system, which will be lightweight, low-cost and easily embedded into roads.

WMG chairman Lord Bhattacharyya said: “Delivering research and innovation for the creation of technological solutions and the expansion of British manufacturing has always been at the heart of WMG.

“I am delighted that Coventry is adopting this cutting-edge very light rail technology, which will benefit the City and will set a new trend for urban public transport.”

It is planned that the first demonstrator vehicle will be assembled by spring 2019 and then tested at the soon to be built Hub to Home Transport Innovation Centre in Dudley.

Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an exciting project, which underlines Coventry and Warwickshire’s leading role in the next generation of transport.

“One of the reasons the Government launched the Local Growth Fund was to unlock growth potential and enhance the transport infrastructure. This pioneering scheme will certainly achieve that.”

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