Passengers on the Merseyrail Wirral line will see new £500m train fleet in service this summer – but Southport will be last in line due to an issue with the platform. Tony McDonough reports
Merseyrail’s Wirral line will be next to see units from the new £500m Class 777 train fleet come into service – but platform issues at Southport mean it will now be last.
After waiting several years for the Stadler-made trains, passengers on Merseyrail’s Kirkby line were able to step on board for the first time in January. This was followed weeks later by the Ormskirk line.
That leaves Hunts Cross to Southport as the only Northern Line service not being serviced by the trains. However, LBN has learned the units will next be introduced onto the Wirral Line.
Merseyrail serves four destinations from Liverpool – Chester, Ellesmere Port, West Kirby and New Brighton.
Despite extensive work to upgrade the platforms for the new trains across the network back in 2018 and 2019, there is still an issue with the platform at Southport which needs to be resolved before the new trains are able to call there.
A spokesperson for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which has acquired the new trains, told LBN: “The Ormskirk line is finished so we’ll be looking at the Wirral line next, followed by Southport – more details to follow nearer the time.
“There are some works at Southport that need to be completed but that’s all part of the plan.”
In May Merseyrail announced that it would increase the frequency of trains between Liverpool and Southport during the summer months to meet demand from day trippers.
Earlier this month battery-powered versions of the new trains were undergoing their final testing on the network. They will start serving the new £80m Headbolt Lane station at Kirkby this year.
In December 2022 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.