People Movers

Ultra Light Rail

Parry People Mover
PPM 60 Railcar No 139 002 approaches Stourbridge Town on 12th May 2009
Photo © 2009 Parry People Movers Ltd

The People Mover concept, also know as Ultra Light Rail, involves the use of small, lightweight railcars to convey passengers over a usually short dedicated link.

Perhaps the best known example, and certainly one of the more heavily promoted types, of Ultra Light Rail is the Parry People Mover. This is based around independently operating vehicles with flywheel energy storage, the flywheels being charged electrically or by small environmentally friendly engines. The vehicles can be adapted to run on existing rail lines which might otherwise be uneconomic to operate. The Parry People Mover has been demonstrated on a number of independent tourist railways and is now in revenue earning service between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town.

Other types of People Mover exist, and these have typically found applications in places such as airports and large shopping malls.

Parry People Mover on conventional rail lines

Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town

The service on the short branch line connecting Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town is a National Rail franchised service, the franchisee being London Midland. Two railcars are in use, supplied by Parry People Movers Ltd and operated by Pre Metro Operations Ltd on behalf of London Midland.

Airport People Movers

Each of the following systems operates with two trains of small vehicles, one train on each of two parallel tracks. The trains can thus operate independently of one another without the need of signals.

Birmingham Airport Skyrail

Links Terminal 1 with Birmingham International Rail Station, 585m on viaduct. The system uses two single, articulated cars and is cable hauled. It opened in 2003, on the route of the original maglev system that operated from 1984 to 1995. Built by Doppelmayr Cable Car.

Gatwick Airport People Mover

A 1.2km link on viaduct between the North and South terminals. The system was originally installed in the 1980s but largely replaced and updated in 2010 by Bombardier.

Heathrow Airport People Mover

Links the T5 landside terminal with the remote Concourse A, and from 2011 with Concourse B. The eventual total length will be 670m, all in tunnel. The first section of the system opened in 2008. Built by Bombardier.

Luton Airport People Mover

Planned people mover linking the airport with Luton Airport Parkway rail station. Prospective opening date 2020. See press release from London Luton Airport Ltd.

Stansted Airport Track Transit System

Links the main terminal building with satellite buildings 1 and 2. The total length is 3.2km, above ground and in tunnel. The first section of the system opened in 1991, with the extension to building 2 in 1998. It has 9 cars organised into 4 car trains with a spare. The builders, ADtranz, subsequently became part of Bombardier and the technology is similar to that at Gatwick.

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