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Department for Transport to give keynote address at WMG’s Very Light Rail Conference

On the 28th November 2019, Steve Berry OBE, Head of Highways Maintenance, Innovation, Resilience, Light Rail and Cableways at the UK Department of Transport will give the keynote address at the Very Light Rail Conference being held at The Slate on the University of Warwick’s campus. He will speak about the potential for Very Light Rail to transform local public transport.

Steve Berry will be joined by industry speakers and academics involved in developing very light rail, including local companies TDI and RDM. They will talk about three projects that are underway across the West Midlands, and discuss why the West Midlands is leading the way in VLR.The Coventry VLR

As the UK population continues to grow along with traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, new transport options are needed to create modal shift and encourage people to leave their cars at home.

At present buses and trams (light rail) provide alternatives to private cars, but bus patronage has been falling steadily for many years in contrast to tram ridership which has taken passengers out of their cars. However, tram routes are expensive to construct and can only be afforded by large city conurbations such as Birmingham. That said, Very Light Rail (VLR) may be a solution that medium sized cities could afford.

Very Light Rail is a lower cost, zero emission option for sustainable transport. The technology can be applied to branch lines as well as urban rail (trams). The Coventry VLR scheme aims to reduce the cost through the delivery of lightweight, battery electric vehicles combined with a novel track form, the first system of its kind in the world.

3D visualisations of the Coventry VLR vehicle were unveiled earlier this year. The lightweight vehicle is fabricated from a combination of steel, aluminium and composite components and will be capable of carrying 50 passengers.Inside the Coventry VLR

Unlike traditional trams, the Coventry VLR system will not have overhead cables – the vehicle will be powered by an on-board battery which will be rapidly charged at the end of the route. The vehicles will run on a novel prefabricated track form which be easy to install into the road and remove, negating the need to utility companies to relocate their equipment (which is a significant cost in light rail tram solutions).

Currently the system is being designed to meet Coventry City’s needs, but it is expected other medium sized cities across the UK, such as Leicester and Derby, may follow in due course.

Dr Nick Mallinson from WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“At WMG we’ve been working on very light rail technology with a number of industry partners for 5 years. Progress achieved to date recently convinced the Department for Transport that the time is right for a conference to showcase the work and make local authorities, transport planners and industry aware of the potential for very light rail solutions”

To see the full agenda and register your interest in the event please fill out the form at: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/mediacentre/wmgevents/vlr/

ENDS

22 NOVEMBER 2019

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available at:

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/march2019/tdi123_coventry_vlr_exterior_4a_2019-03-12.jpg Credit: TDI

Please credit the following images and videos to: WMG, University of Warwick

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https://youtu.be/Ur0Y0JGLIXA

https://youtu.be/JQR-x2d25VU

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk