Very Light Rail (VLR) will help industry to meet the increasing demand for transport connectivity between regional and rural areas.
VLR can reduce carbon emissions and cost through lower levels of track damage. Facilitating low cost use of VLR will provide integrated and sustainable short range public transport systems.
RSSB’s innovations team has provided £1.6M to Transport Design International (TDI), allowing them to develop a unique self-powered bogie for VLR. It has an integral, hybrid propulsion system, and uses commercial vehicle components where possible, to reduce costs and improve reliability and maintainability.
The bogie technology design, which was supported by the University of Warwick’s WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) and Unipart Rail, was successfully demonstrated in the laboratory early in 2016. This confirmed the benefits of the hybrid drive propulsion system.
The next stage is to develop and build the VLR vehicle body, and integrate it with the bogie technology. Existing regulations and safety standards relating to very light railcars have also been evaluated. This has established what could be changed to enable the VLR technology to be successfully taken up.