Transport Minister visits Very Light Rail Innovation Centre

Huw Merriman, Minister of State for Rail and HS2, recently visited the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley as he got a taste of what the future of light rail transport looks like.

He was joined by Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, Dudley Council Leader Patrick Harley, Coventry City Council’s Director of Transport and Highways Colin Knight and Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO) Chief Executive Neil Fulton for the visit which included a tour of the facility as well as a ride on the Very Light Rail vehicle which is being tested there ahead of its introduction in Coventry.

The Very Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley has been home to the Coventry Very Light Rail project since 2022 with testing activity having been taking place. This has included the installation of the project’s novel track form in October 2023 which has allowed integrated systems testing to take place, to prove its suitability for the needs of Coventry and other small cities and large towns as the project is developed.

Mr Merriman visited the workshop area before he was given the opportunity to take a journey on the CVLR vehicle. This saw the vehicle travel around the 15m radius Rail Test Loop and then the 2.2km Rail Test Track and through the 870m Tunnel.

After the visit he said: “It’s great to be here and I think it’s pretty unique and innovative technology that’s being deployed here and, really, it looks to be the future. We want to see more transit systems in place and very light rail systems that can be installed in many places. I just want to say a big thanks to the entire team for show me what is a fantastic product and what good is being done here.”

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