In Pictures: Dudley Very Light Rail Innovation Centre update

Its been a while since we last took a look at the Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley but we remedy that in this article as we see the site (in the snow!) with plenty of construction progress having been made since we last featured it.

When we last took a trip to the Innovation Centre – which comprises a test track and the actual Innovation Centre buildings – the framework of the buildings was under construction and in the intervening two and a half months further progress had been made on that structure. The autumn falling of the leaves has also enabled the full loop test track to be seen in full for the first time.

Whilst the test track was officially completed and opened in May 2021 – although has not yet been used a great deal – the Innovation Centre itself is due to be finished in 2022. This will include a triple height engineering hall, research laboratories, conference and seminar rooms and offices for 45 people. There will also be public areas, including an exhibition spaces and an auditorium.

The test track itself is 2km long and runs from the foot of Castle Hill to Cinder Bank Island.

The Innovation Centre welcomed its first business onto site during September with Motive Zero moving in to undertake work to hybridise a Class 37 diesel locomotive and a class 08 diesel shunter – both of which were seen in photos back in September although in this most recent visit they are no longer visible although parts of them are!

Eventually the Very Light Rail vehicles being developed – including for the Coventry project – will also be tested on the site.

A view of the loop test track through the trees.

This is the Innovation Centre with most of the outer shell of the building now in place.

Looking inside the building with work still taking place to complete the outer structure. The yellow piece of infrastructure here is a crane.

The locos may be missing but not their roof!

The smaller storage shed to the right was complete in the last article whilst here on the left we see the main Innovation Centre still under construction. (All Photographs by Andy Walters, 29th November 2021)

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