THE INNOVATIVE Very Light Rail project set to revolutionise travel in Coventry is making great progress despite the pandemic.
And Coun Jim O’Boyle, Coventry Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, took a trip last week to see the prototype for the battery powered vehicle.
In March 2019 a 3D simulation of the vehicle was released, and even with Covid-19 lockdowns, the vehicle build is progressing on schedule at NP Aerospace in Coventry.
WMG and University of Warwick have worked with TDI (Transport Design International) on the project and, with the driver’s desk and other sub systems in place, it is expected to be finished in February 2021.
Once that happens it will be tested at the new Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley.
Dr James Meredith, from WMG at the University of Warwick, said he was delighted with the progress and was looking forward to testing.
“The project is an excellent showcase for UK engineering and manufacturing with over 70 per cent UK content.”
Coun O’Boyle said: “It is very exciting to see the VLR prototype take shape and for the project to take another big step towards becoming a reality.
“VLR will make a massive difference to our city, revolutionising travel and helping the environment.
“It will help keep our city at the forefront of the new transport industry and help us to attract new firms and jobs to take the city forward.
“It also helps cement our position at the centre of the green revolution with work such as UK Battery Innovation Centre.
“There has been some amazing work by all the project partners in some very difficult times and I can’t wait to see the next stages and watch it come out of the design rooms and on to our city’s streets.”
Darren Smith, Head of TDI, added: “The teams involved in the delivery process across our full supply chain have worked tremendously hard, under difficult circumstances this year and I would like to thank them all for their efforts.”
James Kempston, CEO NP Aerospace, said: “The platform will offer significant benefits for local people and the wider economy and we are honoured to have been selected to be part of the project.
“The team have worked very hard to ensure a high level of build quality and we are looking forward to the final release of the vehicle early next year.
“It is also very encouraging to be part of a development which will have a significant environmental impact.”