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· Amy Glover

Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre

Feasibility study for a new centre focused on the creation of innovative very light rail vehicles.

Cullinan Studio has prepared a feasibility study for the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC), for Dudley Council and WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), University of Warwick.

External view of the proposed Innovation Centre, facing north

The £20m VLRNIC will provide a world class research, development and educational centre focused on the creation of innovative very light rail vehicles, infrastructure and skilled personnel for the next generation of public transport solutions.

Very Light Rail could put the old rail routes in our towns and cities back into service at a fraction of the cost of heavier rail alternatives.

Facilities will include a triple-height engineering hall, research laboratories, conference and seminar rooms, and offices for 45 people, alongside more public areas, including exhibition spaces, a café and an auditorium.

A disused track that previously served Dudley Station – closed to passengers in 1964 - will be reactivated to test the concept of light rail for what could potentially lead to a national network.

The VLRNIC will be one of the stops along the new VLR route connecting commuters and visitors to and from Birmingham to Dudley town centre, Dudley Zoo and Black County museums.

Roddy Langmuir of Cullinan Studio said:

“We are delighted to be helping to put high technology research into the heart of Dudley. It will be great for the town and a great opportunity for the UK to take a lead in lightweight rail technology. The building will also help create new pedestrian links and frame a new public space together with the relocated Dudley zoo entrance”

Internal view of the proposed triple-height engineering hall

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