Stourbridge Special! The McNulty report commends Parry’s passenger service

Quiet, light, fuel efficient and reliable – public transport for the 21st century 


Readers new to the subject can  read a brief account here

A few days ago Parry watchers received a press release about Sir Roy McNulty’s report which was published on 19th May.  It found that Parry People Movers’ lightweight rail technology, successfully introduced into full passenger service in 2009, has proved itself to be fully in line with the proposals for Britain’s regional rail system contained in the report’s section: ‘The lower-cost regional railway’. 

This section recommended maintaining services while reducing costs, recognising the potential for different operation and engineering approaches for lines that combine the features of relatively low speed and relatively low passenger numbers.  Its suggestions include the use of different standards, lighter rolling stock and new approaches to operation on suitable lines.
Parry People Movers railcars offer a two-year example – “a template to be used for wider replication”. Used by half a million passengers annually, its lightweight rail services on the short branch line between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town have reduced operating costs by half and cut carbon emissions by two-thirds. The press release explains: 

“Each railcar weighs just a quarter of the heavy diesel trains that used to provide the same service (albeit less frequently and considerably more noisily than now), giving a benefit in reduced damage to the track, leading to lower maintenance costs. 

“The railcars are kept running by a specially created subcontractor to London Midland, Pre Metro Operations Ltd, operating with procedures which are appropriate to the simple, low risk nature of a short branch line operation. 

“Reliability and punctuality of the Stourbridge Town service has consistently been better than industry norms: In the most recent full operating year passengers have experienced almost 100 percent dependability including during periods of extreme winter weather, seen as a remarkable achievement by industry experts.”  

The Chairman of Parry People Movers Ltd, John Parry MBE, welcomed the McNulty report as a perceptive and timely confirmation of this technology from an authoritative source.# 

Parry’s website also relates to instances of the company sharing environmentally friendly technologies with developing countries – another story.


Good news. I hope it is adopted elsewhere – there must be a town somewhere on a branch line that wants a service that is better than a bus and currently has a local bottleneck on the roads to avoid. 

I remember helping organise a seminar in Derby a few (3?) years ago on the subject of saving weight in trains as this saves not only fuel, but also wear and tear on the rails. The worn rails then damage the train and hence they in turn are designed to cope and become heavier – a vicious circle.

We had 2 young engineers from the automotive and aviation industries to speak on how they save weight. They were very good but sadly the rail industry is very conservative and introspective. The comment below “the use of different standards” is necessary and sadly far to close to the truth, otherwise they will still make trains with a coal tender and a spare seat for the fireman. The usual knee jerk reaction is that they can’t change the standards as they affect safety.

Somehow cars are much safer and structurally lighter than they used to be !


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