Thursday 10 November 2022

Stoke on Trent Proposals For a Very Light Rail (VLR) Vehicle Network

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is drawing up a major new transport strategy to deliver a ‘better-connected’ city by cutting down journey times, reducing congestion and increasing social mobility.

The flagship part of the ambitious plan includes a proposal for a very light rail (VLR) vehicle network which will connect Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns via three main lines – the Northern line, the Central line and the Southern line.

Other proposals include major improvements to bus services and other public transport, two new railway stations and multi-modal hubs across the city.

A Transport Strategy consultation will run for 6 weeks, which commenced on Wednesday 19th October and closing on Wednesday 30th November at midnight, giving residents an opportunity to submit opinions on the proposals.

A VLR vehicle currently on test in Coventry

The strategy aims to deliver a better-connected city by providing transport options that currently do not exist, with all modes of transport being covered. The key focus will be to:

  • improve the public transport offer, with significant investment in bus service improvements, better intracity rail services, and options development for introducing a Very Light Rail network across the City
  • provide better connectivity of different modes of travel, with the emphasis on improving accessibility by public transport and active travel (walking and cycling) to support residents’ health and wellbeing and access to vital services including jobs and education
  • develop multi-modal hubs across the city
  • decarbonise the transport network
  • develop digital connectivity to inform our travel needs and options

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “The fact that we are refreshing our transport plan shows that we have the ambition to develop and deliver a reputable transport network for the whole of Stoke-on-Trent.

“Our transport strategy is a serious piece of work. It took years to get to this point and we have worked very hard on it, but it is not definitive and that is why we have launched our consultation. I would encourage all residents to have their say.”

Councillor Jellyman added: “The VLR network is a key part to this strategy. I believe this should have been done 15 years ago when Manchester and Birmingham were doing it, so I am very keen not to waste any more time.

“We have seen what other authorities are planning in the region, and we are very excited and inspired to put our own stamp on things for Stoke-on-Trent residents.”

Eversholt Rail, along with Transport Design International, has launched of the Revolution Very Light Rail Demonstrator vehicle which is operating at Ironbridge.

The route of the VLR will be planned to provide a comprehensive service, connecting residential areas with key destinations such as employment and retail centres. The VLR network will also connect to key transport hubs such as railway and bus stations to create opportunities for interchange and to enhance the existing network and travel options improving the overall resilience of the Stoke-on-Trent public transport network