I enjoyed a fascinating and inspiring visit earlier today to the ‘Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre’ in Dudley, in the Black Country.

Initiated via the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO), the Centre aims to be a hub of transport technical innovation, and to provide a new, cheaper, mass transit system alternative.

Bringing together transport and research SMEs on site, as well as links to local colleges and apprenticeship opportunities, this is a real innovator and the first of its kind in the world.

We need to see more investment in research and development, alongside a proper long term industrial strategy that provides new, long term jobs – that are part of tackling the climate crisis by finding new efficient, and cheaper ways to put more public transport infrastructure in place.

Very Light Rail could be revolutionary in changing the way cities improve connectivity; providing a cost-effective form of public transport to people across the UK.

The site being developed by BCIMO is Dudley will provide a centre for the industry to develop the technology even further.

I would like to extend particular thanks to the Railway Industry Association for making this visit part of their ‘fellowship’ programme for MPs, and well as CEO of BCIMO, Nick Mallison, for his vision and determination with the venture.