Light Rail summit looks at how Very Light Rail can transform the industry

The Campaign for Better Transport have recently run a “Better Transport Week”, calling for improvements to the UK’s public transport system. As part of this they hosted a Light Rail summit a the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre, Dudley where the Coventry Very Light Rail scheme was a hot topic with discussions on how it could transform the entire light rail industry.

During the summit representatives from Coventry City Council, the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, UK Tram, Sparvagnsstaderna, Thames Gateway Tramlink and Mainspring highlighted the many benefits of light rail investment for towns and cities in the UK and Europe.

With Coventry set to lead the way with their Very Light Rail demonstration line due to up and running later this year, Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “Campaign for Better Transport is doing brilliant and much needed work to highlight the UK’s chronic underinvestment in public transport. Ironically there is a solution in our Coventry Very Light Rail scheme – it will drive down the cost of providing a green, efficient and high-quality form of public transport, making it affordable to install for Coventry and cities and towns across the country.

“Coventry Very Light Rail is a game changer – bringing installation costs down to around £10mn per kilometre. It does this by making use of a zero emission, battery powered vehicle that can turn tight corners alongside a revolutionary shallow trackform which will allow us to keep many utilities in the ground. We’re calling on government to back this project and provide the investment to make it a reality in Coventry and fast.

“In Coventry we’re leading the green industrial revolution and the push to decarbonise our transport system. We’ll be the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025, we’ve installed more electric vehicle charge points than any other city in the UK and we’re hard at work installing miles of high-quality segregated cycle lanes. We just need government process to catch up.”

Michael Solomon Williams from the Campaign for Better Transport said: ““Light rail networks used to be commonplace across the UK, and their removal has led directly to the over-congested, dangerous, polluted roads which are such a problem today, damaging communities, our health and the environment. The development of this exciting lower-cost model offers the chance for more cities to install high-quality rail systems that change the way people get about. Very Light Rail and BCIMO are at the forefront of innovation, and we believe that they can lead the way to a future with light rail back at the heart of our transport networks.”

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4 Responses to Light Rail summit looks at how Very Light Rail can transform the industry

  1. Nigel Pennick says:

    “Game Changer” – how many times have we heard that one? Spin doctors’ jargon, signifying nothing.

  2. David Jones says:

    Until its there, fitted and running , it aint happening!

    The problem with things like this, and re-opening old railway lines is that its all ‘blather’ until it’s done. I give you Preston trams!

    • Geoff. Hewitt says:

      As a Prestonian, I wish someone would! A friend of mine who worked in the Council’s planning department years ago told me, at the outset, that it would never happen. Clearly, he was correct.

      • lazzer says:

        Does the Preston Trampower company still exist or has it been dissolved? Not seen any press releases from them for a long time.

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