UK: WMCA Funds Coventry Very Light Rail Demonstration

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board has confirmed the first instalment of an expected 72 million GBP investment in Coventry’s Very Light Rail (VLR) technology.

The Coventry Very Light Rail system has been designed to be quicker and cheaper to build than traditional tram and rail systems.

It uses lightweight, battery-powered electric vehicles to operate without overhead lines, and its track can be installed within 30 centimetres of the road’s surface to reduce expensive foundation work.

Coventry Very Light Rail
The vehicle at the Very light Rail National Innovation Centre

WMCA’s first instalment of funding provides 36.8 million GBP for this project.

Building upon the ongoing development of the system in Coventry and Dudley, much of this investment will be used to build a real world demonstration track in Coventry city centre and to develop the business case for a fully operational system.

The funds will also enable on-site testing for other VLR systems and will be used to explore the potential of additional VLR lines and links with the existing West Midlands Metro network.

There will also be further investment in the newly opened Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC) in Dudley.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said:

“This is a milestone investment in Coventry Very Light Rail, a project set to transform the way people in our city - and others throughout the UK and even the world - get around. By creating a new, clean and green form of transport, this investment is securing jobs in Coventry and, as in other cities which have installed light rail, will support regeneration in local areas.”

Coventry Very Light Rail is part of Coventry City Council’s mission to improve the region’s transportation network and combat climate change.

The city has also installed more electric vehicle charging points than anywhere else in the UK outside of London and is set to become the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025.

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