Coventry Very Light Rail track

The Coventry Very Light Rail (CVLR) track has been designed to lower the installation cost of urban light rail in Coventry and other medium to smaller-sized cities. This means more places could be able to provide light rail tram systems, providing better public transport.

This page sets out the key features and motivations behind the CVLR track.

Keeping utilities in the ground

A CGI of what the VLR track looks like

Most light rail systems require deep concrete foundations and excavation to around 600mm or more. This means there is a high cost to diverting utilities, such as pipes and cables, which can also cause delays.

These increased installation costs often make it unaffordable for smaller cities like Coventry to install light rail.

The CVLR track is designed to allow many utilities to remain in place. Because its slab is made from ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), it can be thin while remaining strong enough to support both light rail trams and heavy goods vehicles.

It also retains its strength when space is allowed in the slab for manholes, maintaining access for utilities companies when needed.

Easy installation and manufacture

The CVLR track has been designed to be easier to install and manufacture than traditional track.

It is much thinner than traditional slabs, making it easier to lift into place and manoeuvre.

Because of its UHPC construction and thinness, it can be cut at an angle to create curves. This reduces the need for a custom slab, another time and money-saving feature.

VLR track

Designed, manufactured, and tested in Britain

Coventry VLR written on pavement

The CVLR track has been designed by researchers at the University of Warwick in partnership with Ingerop and has been manufactured locally.

The Council has also taken a local-first approach to testing the performance of the track, using its own team to install the track at a test site located at Whitley Depot. This site will test the track’s performance under heavy goods vehicle load, and provide data for researchers to estimate the lifetime performance of the track.

Standard rail components, innovative construction

While the CVLR track slab is made from an innovative material, the rail and rail fittings are widely available and part of a well-known manufacturing supply chain. This reduces the cost of the track and means it could be compatible with other light rail systems.

The track’s standard construction has allowed Transport for the West Midlands to bid for money to explore whether the CVLR track could be used in extensions to the West Midlands Metro.

A piece of the track

Other light rail systems

While the CVLR track has been designed alongside the CVLR vehicle, the two can could be used together or separately.

Alongside Transport for the West Midlands, we will be exploring the performance of the CVLR track with existing trams that are larger and heavier than the CVLR vehicle.

Very Light Rail

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street