Years ago the writer met John Parry from Cradley Heath, and heard about his work designing and building light tramway systems for smaller towns, and light rail vehicles for use on regional railways.
Parry People Movers Ltd (PPM) was founded in 1992 and is owned by about 200 shareholders. It operates a lightweight tramway system between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town stations.
As we see Spanish-built trams ordered for the Metro extension we think of British-built Parry People Movers which run on both road and rail and are much cheaper to build, install and operate than conventional trams.
PPMs make no ‘local emissions’ and are highly fuel-efficient and quiet, using flywheel technology which has been used by racing engine builders for many years.
The track needs none of the footings of conventional trams, so underground services are not disturbed. The tram needs no overhead poles and wires and can become a zero emission operation in cities with closely spaced stops, because the flywheel can be charged (in approximately 30 seconds) from an intermittent electrical supply at each stop. The flywheel stores sufficient energy for the vehicle to reach the next stop in normal operation, but a battery is provided for emergency use. It could be powered from solar cells or other renewable sources of electricity.
PPM vehicles’ level access from platforms makes them easy to use by people of limited mobility and they have safely carried more than 100,000 passengers in Bristol, Brighton, Barking, Swansea, Birmingham and elsewhere.
Though PPM is experiencing substantial operating losses (see Stock Market Wire) Parry’s Associates reached a compromise with HM Revenue and Customs earlier this year over a VAT debt, due to the strong demand for Parry Building Products.
There have been firm orders for £36,000 worth of equipment and a further £100,000 new orders expected in the next few months. Orders were confirmed in the last few days of August for building materials and production plants for Cameroun, Somalia, Zambia, Nigeria and Tanzania.
An experienced Chinese rail industry company has approached PPM Ltd with a proposal relating to two light rail projects it has been contracted to handle. A delegation is expected to visit Britain to explore partnership prospects between the Chinese firm and Parry People Movers. Read more about these subjects in the September newsletter which may be downloaded here. Two independent engineers comment:
More use of Parry’s People Movers could be made in the region. They could gradually replace the city’s boneshakers: older, dangerously decrepit buses which jolt people so alarmingly – even when sitting down!
Use them or lose them.