How did you become the Commercial Director at Transport Design International (TDI)?
I was brought in to implement business growth across the group. I was promoted to head up Transport Design International, develop the Commercial Team and work closely with our Engineers.
What projects have you been involved with since joining TDI?
I have been involved in a number of very successful projects. For example, the design and build of Revolution Very Light Rail (VLR) and the subsequent build of the Demonstrator site at Ironbridge have been a highlight for me. I am hugely proud of the engineering work behind the vehicle and the positive impact it has had within the rail industry. We are currently working on the next phase of this project with our partners, Eversholt Rail to build our next phase of vehicles for potential passenger trials in the UK.
I was also part of the TDI team that built and delivered the Coventry VLR vehicle for Coventry City Council. My team’s focus is the next generation of lightweight urban vehicles, LyncTM and OrbitTM. These are available as rail and road products. We are getting a great deal of international interest for these vehicles which both operate at kerb height entry and Lync has a greater carrying capacity.
How does TDI tailor it’s services to different clients?
We work closely with our customers to understand their individual transport needs, offering terrain analysis, route planning and product design to guide our clients. We find the most flexible and cost-effective transport solution. Every project and client is unique and we embrace that!
Have you seen a change in the perception of Very Light Rail products?
We are certainly seeing increased interest in our VLR products both in the UK and internationally. Partnering with Eversholt Rail has brought Revolution VLR to the UK market. The Department for Business and Trade has identified us best to promote international sales in VLR. I see significant commercial interest from overseas.
It is becoming impossible to ignore the huge financial benefits of using VLR technology over traditional heavy rail solutions. Our VLR products are both economically and environmentally sustainable and this is generating considerable interest in the rail community.
How has TDI supported local communities?
As Commercial Director of TDI, I am focussed on our Innovation and Community targets in parallel. Innovation and Community are two of our company values. We use local and regional suppliers for the build of our products. This reduces our carbon footprint and provides local jobs and upskilling opportunities across the Midlands region. Revolution VLR and Coventry VLR used 70% of UK suppliers and 30% of recycled materials in the build. Our philosophy is to ‘Build Local, Deliver Local’. Our Local Manufacturing Centre (LMC) supports economic growth for local communities.
What are you focused on for the next year at TDI?
My focus is to grow business in the UK with our partners, Eversholt Rail and look to expand our overseas projects.
This is an exciting time and opportunity for TDI to expand as global market leader in Very Light Rail. We are currently working on the Rail Ecosystem which combines vehicles, infrastructure and sustainability to offer a whole-system solution. This uses the very latest in service-charging battery technology and SmartTrax functionality for in-service track monitoring and vehicle maintenance.
CONTACT DARREN SMITH
+44 (0)24 7527 1831