In a world’s first, a Very Light Rail (VLR) wireless battery charge station has been installed at the VLR National Innovation Centre in Dudley, as part of the railway infrastructure project, managed by the specialist railway engineering contractor Trackwork Ltd. .
The Furrer+Frey charger is already in use for electric buses in Spain and the Netherlands, but this is the first time it has been used on a Very Light Rail system. The charge station provides a low-cost alternative to traditional overhead line electrification, by providing wireless charging to battery powered VLR vehicles, at scheduled three-minute stops. The charger will be tested on a new 2km test track, with a Coventry VLR prototype vehicle, developed by Coventry City Council and WMG.
Working closely with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, Trackwork is employed as the principal Design & Build Infrastructure Contractor, with works including the installation of over 3km of track, carrying out structural repairs to an existing Victorian Brick tunnel, civil engineering works, construction of a modular platform, installation of the wireless charger and construction of a maintenance workshop.