Date set for running of new Merseyrail trains

Passengers will be able to travel on the new Merseyrail trains from next Monday with the first of the £500m 777-class fleet set to come into service. Tony McDonough reports

One of the new 777 class trains on the Merseyrail network


Merseyrail will run services using its new £500m train fleet from next Monday, January 23.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham confirmed Monday had been pencilled in for the long-awaited launch. A terms and conditions agreement between Merseyrail and train drivers’ union ASLEF was the final hurdle in the fleet’s introduction.

Drivers voted in favour of the deal earlier this week. Trains will initially run on the Kirkby line. Train manufacturer Stadler’s main depot is at Kirkdale on the Kirkby line and this will allow a quick remedy of any teething problems.

Units from the 52-strong fleet, bought by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will then be deployed on the Ormskirk line with the rest of the Northern Line and the Wirral Line following over the next 15 months.

Once in service the new trains will offer free Wi-Fi, wider seats and space for up to 50% more passengers. They will also feature sliding step technology which will allow unassisted access for wheelchair users and those with bikes or buggies – a UK first.

Steve Rotheram said: “Our passengers have all been waiting patiently and the time has finally arrived – our new trains are now just days away.

“This is a massive moment not just for our region, but for the entire country, as we prepare to launch the UK’s first publicly-owned trains in decades into service, putting the ‘public’ back into public transport.

“We’ve invested half a billion pounds in our new fleet, which is packed with great new features such as sliding step technology, free phone charging and Wi-Fi and more room for bikes and wheelchairs.


Interior of the new 777 class trains on the Merseyrail network
A wheelchair space on one of the new 777 class trains


“Designed in consultation with local people, they’re some of the most accessible and sophisticated in the entire country. 

In December LBN revealed that a test run of one of the new class 777 trains saw it travel 135km using just a battery. An earlier test in the summer saw one unit run around 32km by battery.

Battery-powered trains will run to the new Headbolt Lane station at Kirkby which is due to open in 2023. The technology also offers the possibility of Merseyrail services as far afield as Skelmersdale, Wrexham, Warrington and Runcorn without the need for expensive electrification.

A new trains webpage has been set up. It will be kept up to date during the roll out of the fleet –

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