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Coventry light rail scheme to enter DfT competition

coventry light rail

Plans for a light rail scheme to run on Coventry roads will be entered into the government’s light rail initiative, New Civil Engineer can reveal.

The scheme involves strreet running vehicles being developed by engineers and researchers at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), working alongside Transport Design International (TDI), based in Stratford.

Warwick Manufacturing Group is an academic department at the University of Warwick, which conducts research into engineering, manufacturing and technology.

Two sources close to the project have told New Civil Engineer that the scheme will be entered into the light rail initiative launched by the government to increase the number of tram and light rail systems across the country.

“It is much lighter than any vehicle you can buy,” one of the sources said. 

“The DfT are very supportive of what is going on in Coventry but need written evidence so they can make a decision based on the facts,” another source close to the project told New Civil Engineer.

A 3D simulation of the innovative light rail vehicle for Coventry City Council has been designed by engineers at WMG. The aim is for the trains to run autonomously on Coventry’s roads.

The vehicles will hold 50 passengers and will be battery-powered meaning there will be no overhead power supply, enabling them to operate on other non-electrified routes.

A team of experts is also working to develop a new track system in the city.

The Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership has contributed £2.46M to phase one of the research and design of the prototype and £12.2M has been secured from the West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Deal to undertake the research and development required to prove the concept.

WMG head of materials and manufacturing Darren Hughes said: “The Coventry light-rail system will be innovative in bringing together technologies from a number of sectors to deliver a low-cost environmentally-sustainable public transport solution for the city of Coventry.

“Seeing the 3D simulation and envisaging how it will look within Coventry makes us look forward to building the first vehicle that will be ready for testing at a test track facility during 2020.”

Last month New Civil Engineer  revealed that Spelthorne Borough Council’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR)-style Heathrow southern rail access scheme would be entered into the government’s light rail initiative.

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