Affordable Very Light Rail Track Unveiled

The new track was launched at a conference at Warwick University

VLR takes a step forward.

We have reported previously on the project to create a Very Light Rail (VLR) network for the city. The project took a step forward last week with the showcasing of the new track system.

The Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick and its partner Ingerop and UK subsidiary Rendel have successfully created, designed and built the novel track form. It is designed to sit just 30 cm inside the road surface. This makes it easy to install and remove, significantly reducing the impact on utilities. This potentially could save millions of pounds lost to excavation and moving gas, electrical and telecommunication systems. The new track is expected to cost as little as £10m per km compared to current tram tracks, which can cost upwards of £25m per km, and up to £100m per km in city centre locations.

The track form has been developed in parallel to a zero-emission, battery-powered lightweight shuttle vehicle developed in partnership with TDI, which will  become autonomous, working like the London Underground system, where there is no timetable and passengers can hop on and off.

The vehicle is lightweight, and there will be no overhead power supply which is both costly and can have a negative impact to the city-scape.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change believes that Very Light Rail has the potential to transform public transport in Coventry and in smaller and medium sized towns and cities, enabling the next generation of clean, green transport.

Coventry VLR is being led by Coventry City Council and supported by a number of partners, including the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

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