UK: Dudley Council to develop a very light rail technology

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, UK, has announced plans to create a “multi-million pound innovation hub” for the development of a very light rail technology.
In partnership with Warwick Manufacturing Group, the Dudley Council submitted a planning application for the centre, including a pedestrian foot bridge which links the building to Tipton Road, the future Metro line and car parking. When completed, the new building will include meeting rooms, laboratories, teaching facilities, exhibition and conference space, a large engineering workshop and 2 km twin test tracks which will include test platforms. The planning application is expected to be analysed in the first half of this year.
“This is one of the most exciting regeneration projects to take place in Dudley. If given the go ahead the innovation hub will put Dudley at the forefront of the world’s development of very light rail technology. We will be able to market this as a product worldwide and significantly boost our opportunities to strengthen and grow our local economy,” said Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for planning and economic development.
Research at the hub will investigate ways to reduce the weight and cost of railcars and track, enabling the creation of lower-cost connections between suburban and rural areas and providing a cheaper alternative to heavy rail and traditional ‘Metro’ urban transport systems.
This part of the project is estimated to cost nearly £25 million (EUR 28.37 million). Until now, the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership financed the Dudley Council with a £18 million sum (EUR 20.4 million), and a funding bid for the remaining £7 million (EUR 7.94 million) was submitted to the government.

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