Black Country VLR innovation centre track

UK: The Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation has been formed to oversee the development and operation of a very light rail innovation centre in Dudley, and has appointed law firm Higgs & Sons to advise on corporate governance and other legal matters.

The £25m VLR National Innovation Centre at Castle Hill will include research laboratories, conference and seminar rooms, offices for 45 people, exhibition space and an auditorium.

Coventry VLR

It will also have a test track, which will be used from next month to test a battery-powered VLR tram which has been built as a prototype for an 8 km line which is expected to be launched in Coventry in 2024.

‘As well as developing a new form of low-cost rail-based transport with low or zero emission solutions to supplement existing systems, we are excited at the opportunities that this will create for SMEs across the Black Country, both in terms of innovation and the manufacturing supply chain’, said Dr Nick Mallinson, Chief Executive of BCIMO.

’We want to work collaboratively with a range of partners and, where possible, we are keen to build those agreements with Black Country organisations.’

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.