Test track built for Coventry’s Very Light Rail system

A Very Light Rail system in Coventry has taken a step forward after the completion of a test track site at a council facility. 

The test site for the unique track system has been built in the Whitley Depot facility owned by the council where it will now be used to test the system’s performance in various extreme conditions over a year.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, the Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, emphasised the importance of minimising disruption to locals during the testing whilst also pushing Coventry’s position as a leading area in green tech projects. 

He said: ‘Transport innovation has the opportunity to really support a zero carbon economy and Coventry is leading the green industrial revolution. 

‘Not only will we be the UK’s first all-electric bus city, we have already installed more electric vehicle charge points than anywhere outside London, and we’re investing in new fully segregated cycleways to give more people greener options to move about our city.’ 

Tests undertaken at the new site will include the use of vibration sensors that take measurements ten times a second as well as weight-in-motion sensors measuring vehicles as they move on the tracks of the rail system. 

The innovative track is much thinner than existing light rail systems whilst retaining their strength, meaning it only requires 30cm of depth to be laid thus avoiding the need to divert pipes and cables which can often be obstacles to the installation of similar projects. 

Another test track has also been installed at the University of Warwick, testing installation techniques, and one will soon be built at the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre in Dudley where the Coventry VLR vehicle itself will be tested on the track for the first time. 

Installation of the new test track is part of a £72m investment from the West Midlands Combined Authority to look at VLR systems.

Photo by Coventry City Council


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