WILL Coventry’s tram-style people mover be ‘like the London Underground’?
Images have been released of how Coventry’s tram-style light rail people mover will look when it hits the streets.
The ‘affordable’ battery-powered, lightweight, rail-based vehicle could be manufactured as early as next year.
The long term objective is that it will become autonomous, allowing more vehicles to operate intelligently and efficiently to meet passenger demand, designers say.
It would hold 50 passengers, and the longer term aim is that it will work like the London Underground system, where there is no timetable and people can hop on and off.
It would connect the train station and the high speed rail network at a new HS2 interchange station near the NEC.
The network could also potentially include routes to Warwick University, the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Whitley and the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire in Walsgrave, Coventry.
Due to being battery-powered there will be no overhead power supply which is both costly and has a negative impact to the city-scape, designers say.
The first-of-a-kind design is available to view in 3D via WMG’s visualisation suite and the first test vehicle will be manufactured by mid-2020.
A team of experts is also working to develop a new track system.
Engineers and researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, are working alongside Transport Design International (TDI), based in Stratford, are currently developing the system.
As we reported, Resident traffic expert, James Avery, criticised the vehicle as a ‘folly trolley’ and a waste of money.
Dr Darren Hughes, WMG, University of Warwick, said: “The Coventry light-rail system will be innovative in bringing together technologies from a number of sectors to deliver a low-cost environmentally-sustainable public transport solution for the City of Coventry.
“Seeing the 3D simulation and envisaging how it will look within Coventry makes us look forward to building the first vehicle that will be ready for testing at a test track facility during 2020.”
Cabinet member for jobs and regeneration Councillor Jim O’Boyle added: “Very Light rail is a fantastic innovation and it has the potential to transform the way people travel.
“It will be much more affordable to install than traditional trams, take up far less road space, be able to run alongside traffic and our ultimate aim is that it doesn’t require a driver so it can be a frequent service.
“Coventry has a rich tradition of vehicle manufacturing and now we are leading the way in future transport too.”
The Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) has contributed £2.46million towards phase one of the research and design of the prototype and £12.2million has been secured from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Devolution Deal to undertake the research and development required to prove the VLR concept.