Light rail and trams

18.06.18

Firm named for new Coventry VLR project

A transport firm has won a contract to work with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) of Warwick University to develop a very light rail vehicle as a new transport solution for Coventry.

Stratford-upon-Avon-based Transport Design International won the tender worth £12.2m secured from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to create a state-of-the-art, lightweight, battery-operated, rail-guided vehicle which will ultimately be capable of running without a driver.

The project was funded by the government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and the previously-mentioned devolution deal, and matched by WMG in collaboration with Transport for West Midlands and Coventry City Council.

Olivia Brown, business development officer at the WMG, will be writing in the upcoming edition of Rail Technology Magazine. Editions will be hitting desks on 26 June.

The prototype vehicle will be capable of carrying 20 seated passengers and a maximum of 70 including standees. It will be tested at the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre in Dudley before a permanent tracked route is installed across Coventry and a fleet of vehicles manufactured.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said this was an exciting step forward in bringing innovative transport to the city.

He added: “This is a really important milestone in the development of a very light railway system in Coventry and we are delighted that WMG has appointed Transport Design International to design and build a completely new rail vehicle for Coventry.

“Battery technology is evolving all the time and creating a new very light rail system in Coventry will be a world-first.

“Routes will be considered, and since overhead cables won’t be needed, the light railway will be low-cost, quiet and environmentally-friendly.”

Martin Pemberton, managing director of Transport Design International, added: “As champions of sustainable, lightweight transport solutions, the TDI team is very proud to have been selected to undertake this exciting, flagship project for Coventry. We look forward to working closely with the City Council and WMG to bring their aspirations to reality.”

Monica Fogarty, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Transport and Infrastructure Business Group, said the move will be a great opportunity to attract further jobs and investment into Coventry and Yorkshire.  

“Transport Design International has gained international recognition for their expertise in the very light rail sector because of their vast experience in working with partners to design and supply revolutionary transport systems,” she added.

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