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Partners sought for Coventry Very Light Rail project

Coventry City Council has begun its search for private partners to finance and build the planned Very Light Rail (VLR) scheme in the UK city.

Coventry City Council has begun its search for private partners to finance and build the planned Very Light Rail (VLR) scheme in the UK city.

The City Council held a bidders information day on
14 November, and a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) released in October envisages the creation of a joint-venture, with private sector partners responsible for ‘completing all outstanding R&D activities, devising the business case for the first route in the Coventry region, procuring the necessary planning and statutory consents and completing the design, construction and operation of the first route’.

Two routes have been assessed for feasibility for the first phase. One runs from the city centre to Warwick University via the railway station; the other is from the station to the University Hospital on Clifford Bridge Road.

The City Council will provide its private sector partners with the outputs and intellectual property rights of its R&D activities to date, as well as ‘the exclusive right to operate the VLR system in Coventry’. It suggests it expects the partners to work further with the council to ‘expand the business of the JVCo to other regions of the UK.’

It is hoped that a formal competitive dialogue process can begin in December.

In September, the city revealed a target cost of GBP10m/km (EUR11.6m/km)for the system’s infrastructure. A Transport & Works Act Order is due to be submitted in Spring 2021 with full business case approval set for 2023. The first phase is due to open to passengers in winter 2024

The first 18m battery-operated demonstrator vehicle, with capacity for 70 passengers, 20 seated, is due to be ready for testing in late 2020 or 2021.