A new £80m Merseyrail station will open this week served by battery-powered trains from the new Liverpool city region £500m train fleet. Tony McDonough reports
Battery-powered Class 777 Merseyrail trains will call at the network’s newest station starting this week.
On Thursday this week Headbolt Lane in Kirkby will open to passengers for the first time. It was funded by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to the tune of £80m.
It will be served by trains from the new £500m Class 777 fleet which came into service on the Kirkby line in January this year. Having battery-powered trains meant there was no need for an expensive electrification of the new line.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “As a Kirkby native, I know how long local people have been talking about a station at Headbolt Lane. Thanks to devolution and the power it gives us to shape our own destiny, we’ve turned that talk into reality.
“We’ve invested £80m in this fully accessible, state of the art train station – and it will be the first to be served by our new battery powered trains.
“These trains are the first of their kind in the country and will help us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, paving the way for a cleaner, greener integrated London-style transport network.
“Headbolt Lane station sets a new standard for public transport in this country – and it’s the very least that our residents deserve.”
In a phased roll-out to ease in the new technology, the station will initially be served by one Merseyrail service per-hour to Liverpool Central. Then services will gradually increase to four trains per hour.
There will also be timetable changes for customers travelling from Kirkby and Fazakerley stations.
Liverpool Central-bound trains will now depart from Kirkby at 13 and 42 minutes past each hour until
11.13pm. The last train for Liverpool Central will depart from Headbolt Lane at 11.31pm and from Kirkby at
Kirkby-bound trains will now depart from Fazakerley at 21 and 51 minutes past each hour until 11.51pm. The
last train from Fazakerley for Kirkby and Headbolt Lane will depart at 12.11am.
Network Rail and its delivery partners will be working to complete some outstanding works including the car park, caused by issues with the collapsed Buckingham Group. It will open with limited spaces before reaching full capacity of 270 in the coming weeks.
Headbolt Lane will be the second new station opened by the Metro Mayor since his election, and the first delivered under Merseyrail for All, a commitment to expanding the local rail network across the city region.
The battery technology removes the need for a live third rail, which could enable the Merseyrail network to run to places previously inaccessible, including as far as Manchester, Wrexham, Warrington, Preston and Runcorn.
Since first being launched on the network in January the 777 fleet is now operating on every line on the Merseyrail network except the Southport to Hunts Cross line. More work is needed at Southport station before this can happen.