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This paper presents the design and validation process of a supercapacitor storage based light rail vehicle (tramway). The main design aspects of the storage system are described: storage system rating, supercapacitor bank modeling, power electronic converter design and system control and management algorithms. Based on this design procedure, two 200 kW bidirectional multichannel buck-boost converter modules have been designed and connected to their respective supercapacitor banks. Comparing with a conventional rail light vehicle, the designed system is able to achieve an improved efficiency and circulate in autonomous mode (without catenary). Besides a series of simulations validating different system operation modes, experimental results obtained from a full scale tramway are also presented.