A technology company focussed on decarbonising rail freight is the first to move into Dudley as part of the revolutionary Very Light Rail project.
Dudley Council and BCIMO, which operates the test track and facilities, have welcomed 'Motive Zero' to the town centre.
Motive Zero, working with its partner, Meteor Power, will use the new test track to undertake pioneering work to hybridise a Class 37 diesel locomotive as well as a Class 08 diesel shunter, making them cleaner and more energy efficient. The projects are receiving support from the Department for Transport and Innovate UK’s ‘First of A Kind Rail Innovation Fund’.
Very Light Rail, which runs from the foot of Castle Hill to Cinder Bank Island, supports Dudley’s ambition of being an international centre for rail innovation.
In August last year the West Midlands Combined Authority supported a £13 million bid to bridge the remaining funding required for the scheme. The combined authority has also supported the VLR scheme as part of its wider vision for the West Midlands. Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:
"I’m delighted to welcome Motive Zero today and it has been fascinating to hear the team speak about the game changing technologies they are exploring.
"We continue to work closely with BCIMO as we take the next steps on our journey to becoming global leaders in rail innovation and greener transport solutions. We will work closely with Motive Zero, BCMIO and all our partners to continue with the fantastic Very Light Rail programme."
The new centre, to be completed early next year, will sit next to the test track and is being delivered by the council. The centre will boast a triple-height engineering hall, research laboratories, conference and seminar rooms and offices for 45 people. There will also be public areas, including exhibition spaces and an auditorium.
For more information people can visit regeneratingdudley.org.uk.