Battery-powered trains tested for new £80m station

Final tests on battery-powered Merseyrail trains take place ahead of the opening of the new £80m Headbolt Lane station. Tony McDonough reports

Headbolt Lane
Cllr Tony Brennan, left, and Steve Rotheram, at the site of the Headbolt Lane station


Battery-powered trains are going through their final tests ahead of a new £80m station being opened on the Merseyrail network.

Work on Headbolt Lane in Kirkby began in March 2022. Plans for the station were first proposed in 1972. Once open later this year it will offer better access to the Merseyrail network for people living in the Tower Hill and Northwood areas of Kirkby.

In January Liverpool City Region Combined Authority deployed the first of its 52-strong fleet of new Class 777 trains on the Merseyrail Kirkby line. They are now being introduced onto the Ormskirk line.

In December LBN reported that one of the new trains travelled for 135km using a battery. In previous tests the trains had managed just 32km. This breakthrough means the Merseyrail network can be extended without the need for expensive electrification.

At Headbolt Lane work is well under way to construct the platforms for the station alongside the ticket office and waiting area.

A new bridge over the brook on the site has already been installed as well as two new rail bridges. The doubling of the track between the existing Kirkby and new Headbolt Lane stations is also currently taking place.

Headbolt Lane will be the second new station opened by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram since his election with Maghull North being the first. Battery power may enable the extension of the network to places such as Wrexham, Warrington and Runcorn.

Mr Rotheram said: “As a Kirkby native, I’ve heard talk about a new station coming to Headbolt Lane for as long as I can remember. I’m really proud that our £80m investment has turned that dream into delivery.


Batter-run Class 777 trains are undergoing final testing. Picture by Tony McDonough


“The new station is another step on our journey towards my ambition of building a London-style transport system for our region. I want to make getting around as quick, cheap, clean and reliable as possible.”

The new station plans include:

  • Step-free access throughout the station.
  • A bus interchange.
  • Cycle parking.
  • Links to active travel networks.
  • Passenger waiting facilities and toilets.
  • 300 park and ride spaces.
  • Electric vehicle charging points.

Tony Brennan, Knowsley’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “Headbolt Lane Station will improve transport options to a wider number of Kirkby residents, providing access to the new battery trains and all the fantastic facilities the new station has to offer.

“The new station will also improve access to Knowsley Business Park, which will help attract further investment into the area at such an exciting time for Knowsley.”

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