Manufacturer Stadler has handed over the first of the new £500m Merseyrail train fleet to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Metro Mayor is inviting the public on board. Tony McDonough reports
Members of the public are being invited to step on board one of Merseyrail’s new 53-strong train fleet as the first unit is handed over to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA).
However, the CA says it isn’t yet ready to announce when the new trains will come into service on the network. Over the past few months, manufacturer Stadler has been working with Merseyrail to test the trains across the network.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says the official handover of the first train from Stadler means Liverpool City Region is now the first in the country to own its new trains. Typically, trains are leased by rail operators. He is now inviting members of the public to step on board to get a closer look at the new fleet.
Co-designed in consultation with people across the city region, the trains boast a wide range of customer-focused features and functions including:
- Pioneering sliding step technology, providing step free access for all.
- On board Wi-Fi.
- Improved passenger information screens .
- More space for wheelchairs, bicycles and prams.
The fleet is a key part of the Metro Mayor’s plans for a London-style transport network that seeks to make it as quick, easy, and reliable for people to travel around the region by taking greater local control of public transport and linking different modes of transport together.
He said: “These new trains are a near half a billion-pound investment in our region’s transport network and will transform the way people get around in our region. They’re a major part of my vision for a London-style transport system that will make getting around our region quick, cheap and reliable.
“They will be the greenest and most accessible trains in the country and, best of all they’re owned by us. We’ve designed them around the needs of local residents, who I’m sure will all absolutely love them.”
The handover comes after a comprehensive programme of testing and the authorisation from industry regulator, the Office of Rail and Road, secured this summer. Over the coming months, Stadler will hand more trains to the CA ahead of introduction into passenger service.
Matthias Hämmerle, commercial project manager at Stadler, added: “We are very pleased to have reached this highly symbolic moment in the programme, with one train officially transferring ownership from Stadler to the Liverpool city region.
“These trains have been custom-made for the area and take into account not only the characteristics of the network itself, with its pronounced curves, tunnels and Victorian infrastructure, but the requirements and priorities of local people, as well. “
Details regarding the phased introduction of the trains into passenger service are yet to be confirmed. More information regarding the roll out will be made available as soon as it has been agreed.
A variety of information about the public display events and the new trains can be found on the Merseytravel website www.merseytravel.gov.uk/newtrains