Very Light Rail vehicle: how it might look.

IMAGES HAVE been released showing the potential design of a new Very Light Rail (VLR) vehicle being developed for Coventry City Council by Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick.

Engineers are working alongside Stratford-upon-Avon firm Transport Design International to develop a battery-powered, lightweight, rail-based vehicle to operate in Coventry. The aim in the longer-term is for the vehicle to operate autonomously. It will hold 50 passengers, and the first test vehicle is planned to be manufactured by mid-2020.

Coventry-based company RDM will manufacture the vehicle once the design is complete. A lightweight design is planned using materials such as aluminium, steel and composites. The battery power will eliminate the need for overhead wires, and work is also underway to develop a new track system.

Funding for the work has been via the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), which has contributed £2.46 million towards Phase One of the research and design of the prototype, and £12.2 million has been secured from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Devolution Deal to undertake the research and development required to prove the VLR concept. WMCA will also provide technical support to the project.