Innovative UHPFRC Trackform System for the Coventry Very Light Rail Program

  • Christopher Micallef (University of Warwick)


The Coventry VLR (Very Light Rail) programme is a major initiative ($30 million government funding to date) to develop a novel, low-CAPEX, low-carbon, rail-based public transport system for operation within the city of Coventry led by Coventry City Council (CCC). The programme is a collaboration between UK government, academia, and industry. It seeks to achieve a radical CAPEX reduction primarily through the design of a novel trackform system. All existing rail trackform systems have a minimum overall system height of 700mm. A common element of this total height is a 300mm layer of hydraulically bound material which is specified as a necessary foundation layer. The primary aim of this project is to develop a trackform that is sufficiently resilient as to not require this supporting layer, and instead rely on the existing road substructure for support. This would result in a much shallower dig, significantly reducing risk, duration, and complexity and hence most costs of such projects. The successful output of this 4-year R&D programme has been a patent-pending concrete slab design, the design of which is only possible through the utilisation of UHPFRC. The programme has just been awarded an additional fund of $88 million intended to deliver a demonstrator 1.6km route requiring the supply of about 1100 slabs (approx. 800m3), the success of which will lead to the full network expansion in Coventry and other cities requiring the supply of thousands of UHPC slabs per year.

Keywords: Coventry Very Light Rail, CVLR, UHPC track slab, structural health monitoring

How to Cite:

Micallef, C., (2023) “Innovative UHPFRC Trackform System for the Coventry Very Light Rail Program”, International Interactive Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Concrete 3(1): 129. doi:

Rights: © 2023 The Author(s). All rights reserved.

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Published on
04 Jun 2023
Peer Reviewed