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Is Stourbridge the beginning, or end, of the ultra-light rail journey? Part 1

The West Midlands is the centre of efforts to build new lightweight, low emission railcars for use on branch lines in the UK and overseas. Andrew Forster uncovers the remarkable story of the technology and looks at the rival proposals under development

Andrew Forster
10 July 2015
John Parry (right) and maintenance engineer Gary Picken, with a Parry People Mover at Stourbridge Junction
John Parry (right) and maintenance engineer Gary Picken, with a Parry People Mover at Stourbridge Junction
Artist’s impression of the Very Light Rail Centre
Artist’s impression of the Very Light Rail Centre
All aboard: a busy afternoon departure from Stourbridge Town
All aboard: a busy afternoon departure from Stourbridge Town
Little and large: A Parry People Mover stands alongside a four-car London Midland service at Stourbridge Junction. The first car of the London Midland service is a Class 153. One proposed application of the larger PPM vehicle is to replace 153s on branch lines, freeing them up to increase capacity on busier lines
Little and large: A Parry People Mover stands alongside a four-car London Midland service at Stourbridge Junction. The first car of the London Midland service is a Class 153. One proposed application of the larger PPM vehicle is to replace 153s on branch lines, freeing them up to increase capacity on busier lines
A visualisation of Parry People Movers Ltd’s proposed longer railcar. It would feature two flywheel energy stores and two small diesel engines
A visualisation of Parry People Movers Ltd’s proposed longer railcar. It would feature two flywheel energy stores and two small diesel engines

 

Chatting with John Parry about his Parry People Mover (PPM) lightweight railcars is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. He’s warm, articulate, and brimming with enthusiasm for his invention. Yet there must be a bit of steel in Parry too because he’s had to fight a few battles over the years. As a Colonial Service officer stationed in North Borneo in the early 1960s, Parry trained and led an army of irregulars to fight an insurgency, and was honoured with an MBE for gallantry. More...

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