Low cost light rail

Ultra Light Rail (ULR) is a new, low cost design concept for both urban and rural public transport; depending on circumstances it can be 30% to 75% of the cost of a tram.

ULR has some of the characteristics of a bus and some of conventional light rail; but it can also have some novel features unique to ULR.

These include:

- On board energy recovery, storage and reuse technology

- Rail vehicles with lower axle weights than trams or trains

- Remarkably low carbon emissions, even without the use of overhead lines.

Most of the pictures on this site show one example of a lightweight railcar: the PPM60 made by Parry People Movers. Trampower, Sustraco and TDI are also manufacturers with ULR products.

A light rail leasing company is needed to help communities invest in ULR technology. 

By reducing project scales and involving small, private organisations, cost saving innovations in rail technology and operating methods could be introduced onto privately-controlled lines that are only busy at weekends for leisure purposes.

In the national rail network there are branch lines underused by conventional rail that would suit ULR.

There are examples in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and the Midlands where non-passenger railways terminate at main centres of work and education, or at main line junction stations.

London Midland have already commissioned one such service between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town, and some heritage rail operators are studying the feasibility.

Reuse of existing lines paves the way for extensions and entirely new routes.

For more information, download our guide: