The RVLR programme was born out of a challenge set by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and the Department for Transport to provide an attractive, low-cost rolling stock solution that will encourage modal shift to rail, supporting better services on branch lines and facilitating the reopening of disused railway lines as well as network extensions.
The Revolution VLR Demonstrator vehicle will be showcased at our purpose-built marketing facility at Ironbridge, where stakeholders and potential sponsors can understand the design journey and then experience the Revolution VLR in a representative line reopening context.
Eversholt Rail and Transport Design International have worked closely with Harworth Developments over the past 6 months to develop the Ironbridge demonstration site. The speed with which the passenger line, unused since 1963, has been recommissioned and the necessary buildings, platform and other infrastructure features installed illustrates how rapidly a reopening can be implemented when all stakeholders are aligned and committed.
Since its launch in 2014, the project has involved 7 consortium companies from the automotive, rail and other sectors working in partnership to combine their experience and expertise to realise this first-of-a-kind Demonstrator vehicle. The RVLR Demonstrator is truly a transport solution for the future, delivering on the Government’s decarbonisation goals and supporting the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail in the UK.
The RVLR Demonstrator is equipped with hybrid diesel-electric powerpacks, providing zero-emissions operations and low noise running in stations and built-up areas and at speeds up to 20mph. These use a 2.8 litre turbocharged Cummins common rail diesel engine with Euro 6 emissions standards in its road applications, the first time a Euro 6 engine has been used in a rail application. In Demonstrator configuration RVLR is capable of speeds up to 65mph. The powerpack/battery mix can be adapted to suit specific operations.
Light weighting is fundamental to minimising costs and ensuring economic sustainability. In Demonstrator configuration the RVLR has a mass of 24.8 tonnes, a saving of nearly 40% compared with a single-car self-powered heavy rail vehicle of similar capacity. The lighter the vehicle, the less energy it requires to propel it and the less wear it causes to the track. As well as operating on existing rail infrastructure RVLR’s low mass enables it to operate on light weight modular slab track that is less costly to acquire, install and maintain than traditional heavy rail infrastructure.
Modularity is another key feature of the vehicle design, so that in service operations the vehicles can be easily maintained and supported without the need for costly bespoke facilities, special tools and test equipment, a significant benefit for rail operators.
Darren Smith, Head of Transport Design International.