A MALVERN company is looking into a tram-line proposal to boost tourism in the area.

Malvern-based company, Ultra Light Rail Partners Ltd, is looking to resoore a former rail link between Malern and Upton.

It is to conduct a feasibility study for an ultra-light rail tram-based solution on a shared bike and tram line proposed to run between Malvern, Three Counties Showground and Upton.

Company chairman Beverley Nielsen said: “We have been working on environmentally friendly ultra-light rail solutions as a company for six years, building on the experience of the Stourbridge Shuttle.

"Our focus is on self-powered rail-based lightweight vehicles, weighing about half of a traditional Metro tram, carrying up to 120 people, and using carbon neutral combinations of locally produced BioCNG/ LNG with a flywheel or battery for hybrid energy recovery.

“These hybrid powertrain solutions offer far greater range capacity than pure battery electric (up to thirty times) and are more affordable, with battery electric requiring some form of charging equipment. Our vehicles charge themselves, so do not require external charging points, reducing capital installation costs.

“ULR is a successor to the much-loved Stourbridge Shuttle, serving the town of Stourbridge with a 57k population and connecting the mainline train station to the bus station. The service has been operated by Pre Metro Operations Ltd for the past 15 years, carrying more than seven million passengers and providing the only trains in the country to run on LPG gas with flywheel kinetic energy providing range enhancement. With 99.6 per cent reliability, these vehicles have a proven, successful track record, significantly improving the track record for West Midlands Trains as a whole.

“With about one and a quarter million visitors to the Malvern Hills and a million visitors to the Three Counties Showground each year, we can think of four main reasons why we might conduct a feasibility study to assess this line’s potential - tourism, improving health and wellbeing, reducing traffic and congestion and promoting sustainable economic development. “At present you can’t readily get to the Showground on foot or by bike and this could help provide alternative green transport to Upton for music festivals, to events such as the Welland Steam and Country Rally, to Hanley Castle School, and perhaps too, a suitable location for Park and Ride could be identified during the feasibility study.

“We believe our feasibility study should be able to demonstrate the viability levels required to restore the rail line which once existed between Great Malvern and Upton but was closed as part of the wide-ranging Beeching cuts. We do not know if the restoration of this route is still possible, and this is one of the issues we would need to investigate through the feasibility study.

“While we want to conduct a feasibility study for this line, this is not the only place in the country that wants to move people out of cars and into more sustainable transport options. We’re conscious that community groups have been campaigning for light rail links from Wisbech to March in Cambridgeshire, in Cumbria to link together tourist beauty spots in the Peak District, and over many years a light rail link has been the centre of community lobbying in Cirencester.

“We want to excite people with our vision for Malvern Hills and ask them to visit our website, https://ultralightrailpartners.com/2024/04/07/ulrp-lobby-for-and-ultra-light-rail-line/, and to add your comments to our campaign for ultra-light rail solutions providing a viable alternative to the car, so urgently needed in our most beautiful fragile environments.”