Partnership moves forward to develop low cost trackform for Coventry light rail

The ultimate goal of the track project is to design an affordable trackform that can be easily removed, reduce impact on utilities and existing infrastructure, and save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Partnership moves forward to develop low cost trackform for Coventry light rail

The Coventry Very Light Rail project is investigating how to create a low cost trackform for the light rail carriages already in development, thanks to £1.5 million funding from West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), secured by CCC. The 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 Transport Design International (TDI) to design a battery-powered light rail vehicle for Coventry City Council. The long-term objective is that it will become an autonomous vehicle that can hold 50 passengers and work like the London Underground system, where there is no timetable and users can travel via a “hop on and off” system.

The researchers are now looking to develop a low cost trackform for light rail as the next step in the project. The engineers at WMG will work with Coventry City Council and a French civil engineering company – Ingerop Conseil et Ingénierie.

Dr Darren Hughes, Associate Professor at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “The Coventry light-rail project brings together advanced technologies 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.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, added: “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.”