A pioneering lightweight, hybrid-power rail vehicle moved another step closer to its launch date after receiving its passenger licence today (March 26).
The first Class 139 Lightweight Railcar from Parry People Movers Ltd (PPML), the first of its kind in the UK, received its passenger certification from Network Rail.
Further crew training will now take place as the Class 139 is phased into service on the Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town branch line.
The railcar will enter service on Saturdays and Sundays in April, operated under subcontract by Pre Metro Operations Ltd, with a view to full service introduction when the new rail timetable begins in May.
London Midland managing director Stephen Banaghan said he was keen to see the railcar enter service in Stourbridge.
"This will be an exciting development - the first of its kind in the UK - and we look forward to the advent of this new service at the heart of our network," he said.
"We have been working closely with Parry People Movers since November 2007 during the design, manufacture and commissioning of the new railcars and keenly anticipate their introduction."
PPML's chairman John Parry said that the Class 139 represented a new approach to local transport.
"London Midland are to be congratulated on looking for innovative solutions to branch line operation," said Mr Parry.
"Our flywheel-hybrid drive makes this type of railcar one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel, and the system can be applied to street tramways as well as short railway lines."
London Midland is currently running a diesel train on the Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town line.