THE COVENTRY Very Light Rail project is about to embark on a new adventure, investigating how to create a low cost trackform for the light rail carriages already in development.
It comes after £1.5million funding from West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), secured by Coventry City Council.
This project aims to revolutionise affordable public transport in towns and cities.
So far in the Coventry Very Light Rail project, engineers from WMG, University of Warwick have worked with TDI to design a battery-powered light rail vehicle for Coventry City Council.
The long term objective is it will become an autonomous vehicle that can hold 50 passengers and work like the London Underground system, where there is no timetable and people can hop on and off.
The vehicle will be lightweight in design using a multi-material approach. Due to being battery-powered there will be no overhead power supply, which is both costly and unsightly
The ultimate goal of the track project is to design an affordable trackform that can be easily removed and will reduce impact on utilities, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds digging up roads and moving gas, electric, telecommunication and sewage systems, which is currently the process for building traditional tram systems.
Dr Darren Hughes, Associate Professor at WMG, University of Warwick said the project brought together advanced technology from a number of sectors to deliver a low-cost environmentally-sustainable public transport solution.
“Now that the vehicles have been designed it is time to look at the track they will run on, and with the help of Ingérop Conseil et Ingénierie, we will make it as affordable and environmentally friendly as possible.”
Coun Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “Our plan for Very Light Rail has the potential to transform the way people travel.
“It will be delivered at a much lower cost than traditional trams, a hop on, hop off service part of the green revolution and of course its innovation born in Coventry.
“While the development of the vehicle is progressing well, we also need to innovate in the development of the track and that’s exactly what Ingérop will be able to help with. Experts in this field we will be setting them the challenge of designing track that that can be laid much more quickly and therefore much more cheaply than traditional track.
“Very Light Rail is a really exciting project.
“Another innovative first for Coventry and this is another important step in its delivery.”
Philippe-André Hanna, Director for International Transport in Ingérop said they were delighted to join the Coventry Very Light Rail team.
“This project is an absolute need for small and medium cities which want to have a modern, carbon-free, rail-based system and cannot afford it today.”
After the research and development, the organisation’s main goal was to put the most sustainable urban transport system possible for Coventry and many more cities in Europe.
Tim Hackett, Infrastructure Director at Rendel Ltd said: “We look forward to collaborating on this innovative and technologically game-changing project, providing support from our new West Midlands office.”