· Crash-resistant glazing features on the new Coventry Very Light Rail vehicle, and could be used to improve passenger safety in other means of public transport
· The glazing is made of a highly resilient polymer and has been designed by engineers from WMG – University of Warwick, Far-UK and TDi Ltd.
· The glazing, which is highly resistant to failure, has advanced coating to increase product lifetime.
A new form of window glazing featuring a lightweight polymer with an advanced scratch-resistant coating has been installed on the Coventry Very Light Rail vehicle, and could be used in other means of public transport. The new windows are highly resistant to breakage which provides passengers with a step-change in safety.
The glazing has been designed by a collaboration of WMG – University of Warwick, Far-UK (Lead) and TDi Ltd and was funded via the UK Innovation agency, Innovate UK (SBRI Rail Demonstrations: First of a Kind 2020).
The official report into the 2016 Sandilands (Croydon) tram crash made a number of recommendations for tram vehicle improvements. It called for development of windows and doors with improved strength. To address this need, researchers have been on a mission to make public transport safer in new innovative ways, one of which features crash-resistant glazing.
The new glazing is now revealed on the newly developed Coventry Very Light Rail vehicle, thanks to the Innovate UK funded project “Resilient glazing for safer passenger vehicle operation” (Resi-Glaze), which is an exciting collaboration between industry and academia.
The new glazing has been fully tested to ensure that it can survive exposure to severe projectile impact, all weather conditions, and has no negative impact on the environment compared to glass.
The technical team was then able to install it on the new Coventry Very Light Rail vehicle, meaning that the vehicle now holds two public transport firsts, as it has anti-microbial grab poles and crash-resistant glazing.
“The new Coventry Light Rail vehicle has a number of major innovations including being lightweight, battery-powered and having reduced environmental footprint. The vehicle has shown that major steps forward can be made using a UK-centric manufacturing approach. The Sandilands accident report identifies clearly the need for safer glazing in trams and we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to design and make the glazing and see it installed. Although we have demonstrated the technology in trams, we believe it points a path for safer future glazing solutions in the wider rail sector.”
Dr Sophie Cozien-Cazuc from Far-UK Ltd adds:
“Far-UK has been thrilled to be given the opportunity to develop and manufacture resilient lightweight polymeric panels for the Coventry Very Light Rail vehicle. After the Croydon accident in November 2016, there was the need for more robust glazing options. This Resi-Glaze project allows innovations from other transport sectors to be brought to the rail industry. Polycarbonate glazing has moved on from the 1980s. Far is looking forward to providing this new glazing in the transport sector in general.”
Paul Salkeld from TDi Ltd adds:
“Transport Design International have been involved in many innovative projects over the years and this project has sound relevance as we look to promote safer and cleaner ways of providing public transport. We are looking forward to seeing this moving forward now in many applications.”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change said:
“I am delighted that this glazing innovation is being tested as part of our vehicle development. It will also have much wider application too, which is very exciting.
“We are right at the front of the green industrial revolution and our plans for Very Light Rail have already achieved a number of world first developments. The Coventry Very Light Rail project has the potential to revolutionise the way people travel, importantly at an affordable cost, and it will take another step forward later this year when both our new vehicle and our innovative track system is tested in real-world conditions.”