The Coventry Very Light Rail (CVLR) project has achieved a major milestone with the successful running of the vehicle on its test track at the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRIC) in Dudley.
The battery-powered vehicle and track system will offer cities the chance to install rapid passenger tram systems faster and at a much lower cost than traditional light rail systems. The track is thinner than the track used in existing light rail or tram systems, and can be laid just 30cm deep into the road surface, reducing the need to divert all pipes and cables.
The CVLR project is backed with funding from the £1.05 billion City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) awarded to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) by the Department for Transport.
The test track includes a tight curve and a 250m vertical hump, which are significant challenges for traditional slab track constructions. The instrumentation on the track will monitor vibration, sound and stresses produced by the vehicle to demonstrate how the track form in conjunction with the novel features of the CVLR vehicle reduces vibration and sound compared to standard tram systems.
The development work is leading up to a real-world demonstration of VLR on the streets of Coventry city centre.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “It was fantastic to see the vehicle running on its track for the very first time. This track is crucial to our vision and this successful test is a big milestone for the project.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “By investing in - and supporting the development of - Very Light Rail in Coventry and Dudley, we’re placing our region right at the forefront of what is a tremendously innovative technology.”
“It’s yet another wonderful example of the industry and ingenuity for which the West Midlands is deservedly known. I look forward to seeing this technology progress from the workshop to real world application in the months and years ahead.
“As VLR picks up pace, we’ll be able to further reduce traffic congestion and improve our air quality - offering a convenient and sustainable transport option for local people to enjoy.”
Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “This is an important milestone on this site and I am delighted to see the first tests taking place. This is a very important aspect of our wider £1 billion regeneration story that is really gathering speed.”
Photo Credit: Transport for West Midlands