PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT - 22nd November, 2004
Parry People Movers Ltd: Response to Community Railways Strategy
A vindication of PPM's vision for the future of local transport
The Community Rail Development Strategy, published on 22nd November by the UK's Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), presents a major opportunity for new rail technologies, such as that promoted by Parry People Movers Ltd (PPM), to help the rail industry provide a better transport service at lower cost.
As stated in the strategy document, "neither closure nor further conventional cost-cutting can improve the current situation of local and rural railways". It identifies that closing rail lines would achieve only "limited cost savings", while significant legacy costs would remain. The solution therefore is to develop Community Railways by reducing cost and increasing revenue.
The key to achieving this is the concept of "a different category of local railway, separately specified, with standards appropriate to its use". This will allow new types of rolling stock and operation to be introduced. The strategy document envisages Community Railways operated in similar ways to "the light rail model, with the development of a new low-cost train for Community Railways" which could even allow "ground level boarding ... , simpler signalling principles ... , removal of the requirement to fence lines" and "access to or between platforms ... by foot crossing". A further possibility is "leasing the line from Network Rail" to allow truly local operation.
PPM's vision is fully in line with, and has in many respects preceded, these proposals. All the potential benefits identified are achievable by the use of PPM vehicles. The company has long proposed the secondary railway concept and proposes transferring many of the virtues of modern light rail operation to local and rural lines, without the need for major investment in electrification or infrastructure. This would bring major improvements to the environmental performance of rail transport and reductions in the cost of service provision.
An essential step is the adoption of differentiated standards for Community Rail lines "appropriate to the nature and volume of traffic being handled". The need for such standards is illustrated by the intended trial of a PPM light railcar on the Stourbridge Town branch, to be partly funded by the SRA, which has been significantly delayed by the absence of appropriate standards. It has been calculated that operation of the Stourbridge branch by PPM technology would halve the subsidy requirement.
As stated in the Community Rail Development Strategy, "independent and heritage operators may also apply to have routes designated as Community Rail routes ... , to provide a consistent approach on standards". This opens the way for the re-introduction of public passenger services on heritage and other railways, already explored by PPM vehicles' experimental operation on several such lines, including the Severn Valley Railway and the Great Central Railway, where significant potential markets exist.
- Parry People Movers Ltd (PPM) was founded in 1992 to develop rail transport based on a new innovation: the flywheel energy store. The company is owned by approximately 200 shareholders and is quoted on the OFEX market.
- PPM rail vehicles offer the quality of modern light rail transport without the need for electrical power supply and giving excellent environmental performance and energy efficiency at lower cost than conventional technology. The same technology can be used on railways or urban tramways. PPM vehicles are fully compliant with accessibility regulations.
- The vehicle technology used in PPM vehicles is licensed to the company by JPM Parry & Associates Ltd ( www.parryassociates.com ), a West Midlands engineering company specialising in overseas development, integrated transport, and energy/environmental issues.
- Pre Metro Operations Ltd, a company associated with PPM, is developing innovative operational methods for the provision of public transport by different modes, including the PPM operation at Stourbridge.
For further information, please contact:
John Parry MBE
Parry People Movers Ltd
Telephone: +44 (0)1384 569553
Fax: +44 (0)1384 637753