African diplomat hops aboard Stourbridge's eco-friendly tram

Stourbridge News: Left to right, Deva Ponnoosami of Southern Marketing Services, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador Gabriel Machinga, and Parry People Mover creator John Parry (ref: 141123M). Buy this photo » Left to right, Deva Ponnoosami of Southern Marketing Services, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador Gabriel Machinga, and Parry People Mover creator John Parry (ref: 141123M).

ZIMBABWE’S ambassador to the UK Gabriel Machinga hopped aboard Stourbridge’s Parry People Mover to see for himself the potential of the town’s revolutionary gas-powered railcar.

The ambassador took a ride on the eco-friendly tram created by Cradley Heath inventor John Parry as the country is keen to explore the benefits of light rail to help solve its transport problems.

Mr Machinga told the News he was “very encouraged” after taking a taster trip on the pioneering low carbon Parry People Mover which has been in service on the Stourbridge branch train line since 2009.

He said, during his visit on Monday March 28, city streets in Zimbabwe are often clogged with ‘emergency taxis’ so the country, which saw its economy grow by 8.2 per cent last year, is looking at alternative public transport provision to help cut down congestion and emissions.

He added: “What we’re trying to do is improve our infrastructure in the capital Harare which is home to 1.5 million people. “A lot of them have to commute from the suburbs to get into town, so we’re trying to explore the opportunities through learning from other examples.

“Also, in the broader context of our history and relationship with the UK - technology available here and likely to be relevant and appropriate to our circumstances could be readily employable in Zimbabwe.”

Mr Parry said the state-of-the-art tram had already attracted interest from countries including Malaysia, Columbia and Tanzania.

He added: “We believe there’s a great future for this form of railcar in places like Zimbabwe. It’s very frugal in its energy use; it would be a big cost-saving. We’re a success here in Britain, now we’re ready for the rest of the world.”

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