The Coventry Observer exclusively revealed that Coventry City Council is exploring the return of trams to the city’s streets using pioneering modern technology. A rapid transit ‘light rail’ system is being considered to connect Coventry station with Warwick University and beyond. It would connect Coventry city centre with the new HS2 high-speed rail Birmingham interchange station near the NEC and Birmingham Airport planned for 2026. The tram network could run on wide grass verges on the A45 and be designed by advanced engineers at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at Warwick University.
The idea has been explored for months by Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, Councillor Jim O’Boyle, and his deputy cabinet member, councillor David Welsh, who is also on the transport delivery committee of the West Midlands Combined Authority. It is understood they have provisional support from Jaguar Land Rover, which is seeking to improve transport to work as it expands in the city.
It is the first time since the 1990s that proposals to return modern trams to the city’s streets have been on the table. It comes as the Coventry Station masterplan is moving forward, with infrastructural work underway to prepare for a second passenger building with extra car parking next to Central Six retail park; and a new bay platform to accommodate trains on the NUCKLE (Nuneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington) passenger service.
Coventry City Council has for years been seeking government assurances that Coventry city centre and schemes including the long-awaited Friargate office development will not be disadvantaged by HS2 – which will see high-speed trains between Birmingham and London bypass Coventry station.
The current three fast trains an hour to and from Coventry station between the country’s two largest cities are potentially under threat.
The council says Coventry has the fastest growing railway station in terms of passenger numbers outside London. Latest council documents reveal: “Opportunities are being explored for the integration of a potential future rapid transit system which will connect the city centre to the University of Warwick and eventually serve connections further afield.”
Source: The Coventry Observer