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Suppliers sought for Very Light Rail system

Coventry very light rail with university of warwick 3to2

The University of Warwick has launched its search for suppliers to develop a Very Light Rail (VLR) system in Coventry.

The university is looking for suppliers on its £10.5M mass transit system design development contract which it was awarded in January.

Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), based at the university, will lead the research and development of the VLR system, which is expected to be a driverless. Low-cost and easy to install track will be designed to minimise the need for utilities relocation and to allow on and off-road running.

“The vision is for an innovative trackform, which causes minimal disruption to the locality during onsite installation thus providing a step-change in light-rail installation costs,” the tender said.

As part of the new £3M supplier contract the university said the development of the rail network would require a fully integrated systems approach, ensuring compatibility, consistency and cost-effectiveness.

In addition to the on and off-road running, the system is also to use “low-carbon light-weight self-propelled vehicles which are emissions free at the point of use”.

It said the supplier would be expected to interact with the project partners, including Coventry County Council, Transport for the West Midlands and the vehicle development consortium, as well as any other companies that assist with the development of the Coventry VLR programme.

It is envisaged that the overall track research and development program is to be divided into a concept design and verification which is expected to take 12 to 18 months. Following on from this would be a detail design and test track build taking six to 12 months.

Track design and systems integration assurance is then expected to take 36 months. It said all four parts were likely to be procured separately, but with part four procured with shorter timescales.

A contract notice is expected to be issued in December this year. 

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