First train in Merseyrail’s new £460m fleet undergoes track testing

Train has been transported to a test track in Germany for dynamic testing and the fleet will start arriving in Merseyside before the end of the year. Tony McDonough reports

Merseyrail, Stadler
First of the new Merseyrail trains being taken to Germany for testing


Swiss manufacturer Stadler has started putting the first train from Merseyrail’s new £460m fleet through its paces.

The first new train has been transported to a test track in Germany for dynamic testing, following successful static testing and ‘sign off’ at Stadler’s factory. This will see the train travel up to speeds of 75 mph, with all dynamic aspects such as braking point and electromagnetic radiation thoroughly tested.

Most of the testing is being undertaken at an established railway testing centre in Wildenrath to minimise the need for testing and any associated disruption on the Merseyrail network itself.

The first train of the 52-strong fleet is due to arrive in Liverpool for testing and driver training later this year. The trains will begin to be rolled out for passengers from 2020.

And much of the work is under way in the Liverpool city region in preparation for the new trains. The re-build of the Kirkdale depot is nearing completion and platform upgrade works to ensure level access at all stations onto the train, is entering its final phase.

The test track focus in Germany is on train on-track performance which requires the operational and mechanical elements of the train to be fully functional, while some on-board cosmetic elements are yet to be completed.

The first unit should arrive in the UK in December and will be stabled at Kirkdale as a base for further testing and to allow for driver training.

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said: I’m pleased to see us moving another step closer to rolling out state-of-the art, accessible, publicly-owned trains on our network. The new trains are an important part of my plans to deliver a London-style transport network for the Liverpool City Region and I can’t wait to see them in service from next year.”

Matthias Hämmerle, project manager for Stadler, added: “These trains for the Liverpool city region, are not ‘off the shelf’, but tailored to a very specific brief. Securing the acceptance of static testing for the first assembled train is a proud day for both our customer and everyone else involved.”

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