NEW images released this week show how a £5m scheme to run eco-friendly light railcars between Stourbridge and Brierley Hill might look.

JPM Parry & Associates has released the pictures to highlight ambitious plans to run its gas-powered Parry People Movers along a four-mile section of the existing Stourbridge to Walsall freight line.

Inventor and engineer John Parry, who runs the Cradley Heath firm, has been dreaming up the project for nearly three years - since his revolutionary light railcar replaced traditional trains on the Stourbridge branch line running between the town and junction stations.

And now after attracting £1m in principle from the Government's Regional Growth Fund the project is on track to become reality.

Mr Parry said: "It’s a very significant development from getting our first footing on the ground. We have had a long struggle but hopefully in the end it will pay off."

If the scheme steams ahead, passengers would be able to rail ride from The Waterfront, Brierley Hill, through to Stourbridge Junction where they would be able to jump onto mainline train services to London, Birmingham and Worcester.

The project would also see new stations created along the route. Re-opening the old Brierley Hill town railway station in Station Road, which has been shut for more than 50 years, and siting a new stop near to Corbett Outpatients Centre in Amblecote are among possibilities.

The Regional Growth Fund money means Mr Parry can further develop his long romanticised about scheme to transform the travel habits of people in the Stourbridge/Brierley Hill areas.

One of his first tasks is to come up with a bigger and more powerful rail car to cope with more passengers and longer journeys than his existing shuttle is used to.

Work on this aspect has already begun thanks to a separate grant of £247,000 from the Technology Strategy Board and Mr Parry hopes to trial a test vehicle within the next few weeks.

If successful - the new larger vehicle, which would be twice the size of the existing PPM railcars, could be used on the proposed Brierley Hill line and to help meet increasing demand on the Stourbridge branch line.

The £2.5m cost of buying three new trains for the Stourbridge to Brierley Hill scheme is expected to be met by a leasing company and it is hoped businesses likely to benefit from the project would stump up any remaining funds required.

The scheme, which would create dozens of new jobs, could be up and running in as little as two to three years. Mr Parry said: "There's a huge amount of interest in this; it's up to us to get the engineering right."