Rail Forum was delighted to host its first-ever Light Rail Event on November 23rd at BCIMO’s Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC) in Dudley.

 The half-day event brought together industry experts, stakeholders, and members to explore the latest innovations, projects, and opportunities in the light rail sector.

The event, held in the state-of-the-art Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre’s Exhibition Hall and Auditorium, featured two distinct sessions focusing on rolling stock and infrastructure issues related to light rail.

The diverse range of speakers provided insights into the UK and international light rail landscape, with a special focus on new projects and developments.

Rail Forum Event at BCIMO
Delegates at the Rail Forum Event at BCIMO
Networking at the Rail Forum Event at BCIMO

Session 1: Global perspectives and Coventry City Council’s Very Light Rail Project

The first session delved into the global opportunities and patterns of development in light rail. Speakers included James Hammett from UK Tram, Matt Johnston from Mainspring, Nicola Small from Coventry City Council, and representatives from Network Rail, Mike Smith, and Simon Coulthard. The session also included a Q&A panel, providing attendees with valuable insights into the broader context of light rail operations.

Session 2: Project planning and delivery

The second session focused on project planning and delivery, featuring presentations from Luke Albanese (West Yorkshire Combined Authority), Luke Tandoh (Anturas), Nick Goodhand (DB ESG), Tim Burleigh (Eversholt Rail), and Neil Fulton (BCIMO).

The topics covered included the West Yorkshire Combined Authority project, innovations following the Croydon tram incident, updates from Revolution VLR, and insights from BCIMO.

Discussing the event, Cat Appleby, Membership & Engagement Director at Rail Forum said: 

“We were thrilled to host our first ever Light Rail Event at BCIMO’s VLRNIC. The event brought a large array of viewpoints together, looking at the current policy and context around the UK and the wider global opportunities. We knew this event would be of great interest to our members, and it also brought the rolling stock and infrastructure sectors together in a very joined-up manner.”

Cat praised the event venue, stating,
“The VLRNIC has fantastic facilities in a really attractive location. It was the perfect venue for the event, and we’re delighted to be working with BCIMO on events like this.”

Cat added:
“I’d like to give a special thanks to our event partners, without their support it wouldn’t have been possible for us to hold this event. A big thank you to Revolution VLR, DB ESG, UK Light Rail Conference and BCIMO for their ongoing support.”

Post-event, 30 Rail Forum members were given the opportunity to tour the VLRNIC facility, exploring the Rail Development & Test Site and Meeting & Event Spaces.

Discussing the hosting of the event, Helena Davies, Events Manager at BCIMO, said:

“It was really exciting to host Rail Forum’s first-ever Light Rail Event at the VLRNIC. The centre provides a cutting-edge environment, and we are proud to offer our exhibition hall and auditorium for events of this nature. The success of this event reinforces our commitment to providing a conducive space for industry discussions, innovations, and networking.”

She added:
“The positive feedback we received from both attendees and Rail Forum is a testament to the collaborative efforts in making this event a success. We look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with Rail Forum and other industry partners on similar impactful events.”

Attendees at the Rail Forum Event at BCIMO
Roll Call at the Rail Forum Event at BCIMO

Positive feedback from attendees

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with Toni Shepherd from TRB Lightweight Structures Ltd stating, “Really insightful event and brings exciting times for lightweighting with the railway industry.”

Mark Combes, Non-Executive Director of Severn Partnership Ltd., added, “Rail Forum gets you to the cutting-edge latest news of the Rail Industry, and this first Light Rail Event at the VLRNIC operated by BCIMO was superb.”

Richard Uttley, Business Development Manager at SET Limited, commended the event, stating, “An excellent introduction to the structure and environment of light rail. More importantly though, a very good presentation of the business opportunities.”

For more information on BCIMO please visit our website or contact us to make an enquiry.

The Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO) is a not-for-profit Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) and operator of the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC), a unique, world-class centre for rail innovation based in Dudley in the West Midlands.

BCIMO Project Funders

Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO)
Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre
Zoological Drive
Dudley
DY1 4AW
For Sat Navs use: DY1 4AL

T // 07769 586893. E // info@bcimo.co.uk