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Plans for the world’s first very light rail innovation centre in Dudley have been given a boost as the first agreement to test vehicle prototypes on its track has been announced.
Coventry City Council has confirmed its intention to use the test track in Dudley, news which comes as Dudley Council’s cabinet is expected to approve funding to allow development works to continue at pace.
As part of its ambition to develop a very light rail travel solution for the city in partnership with Warwick Manufacturing Group, Coventry will use the test track in Dudley to carry out research and develop vehicle prototypes. The city council will be seeking funding for a potential extension to the track in Dudley.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:
This is fantastic news for Dudley. Very light rail innovation is at the heart of our regeneration plans and we see it as a real game changer in the development of travel solutions worldwide.
The first phase of this £25 million project will deliver the test track and innovation main building. The test track isn’t even built yet and we’re already attracting interest from other authorities. It’s great to have Coventry City Council on board with a commitment to use our test track as part of their research and development of vehicle prototypes for the city.”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council, said:
Our ambition is to create a state-of-the-art, lightweight, battery-operated vehicle which will ultimately be capable of operating without a driver. It’s a unique and innovative project and I’m delighted that we will be working so closely with Dudley and testing our prototype at their innovation centre.”
It plans to be the first in the world to install a permanent tracked route and unveil a vehicle prototype during 2021 when it becomes the UK City of Culture.