• Publicly owned trains will bring rail travel into the 21st century
  • Fleet sets a new standard in accessibility and environmental standards
  • The trains are part of the Mayor’s plans for a London style transport system

The Liverpool City Region’s new fleet of publicly-owned trains could be in service as soon as Monday 23 January, Mayor Steve Rotheram has announced.

This means that passengers travelling on the Kirkby line will be the first to enjoy the high-tech new trains, which are part of a £500m investment, complete with phone charging and plenty more room for bikes, prams and wheelchairs.

A phased rollout will then take place, with the Ormskirk line next to be introduced. The rest of the network across both the Northern and Wirral lines will follow later in the year.

Announcing the news, Mayor 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 are packed with great new features like sliding step technology, free phone charging and Wi-Fi and more room for bikes and wheelchairs  – and I cannot wait to see people’s reactions as they step on board for the first time in just a few days.

“Designed in consultation with local people, they’re some of the most accessible and sophisticated in the entire country. But more than that, they’re a big part of my vision to build a network that’s faster, cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable, and a region where no one is left behind. This is just the beginning of a local transport revolution.”

Built by Swiss based manufacturer Stadler and designed to meet the needs of a 21st century transport network, the new trains will replace the current fleet which will be retired after more than 40 years of service.

They are a key part of Mayor Rotheram’s plan for a London-style integrated transport system and a ‘Merseyrail for all’ which serves communities across the Liverpool City Region.

Setting a new standard for accessibility, the trains will be the first in the country to provide level boarding for everyone at all doorways and on all platforms.

This is thanks to pioneering sliding step technology that meets the platform edge, making it easier and safer for passengers to get on and off the train with wheelchairs, bikes, pushchairs and luggage.

Co-designed in consultation with local people, the modern trains boast a wide range of customer-focused features and functions including:

  • USB charging points
  • Digital passenger information screens
  • More space for wheelchairs, bicycles and prams
  • Larger, more comfortable seats with much better legroom
  • On board Wi-Fi
  • Air conditioning
  • CCTV visible to passengers on board, the driver (if safe to do so), the Merseyrail control room and British Transport Police
  • Train managers to provide reassurance and support to passengers

Three times more powerful than the existing fleet, the trains can start and stop more quickly providing greater service reliability and resilience, as well as up to a 10% reduction in journey times on all routes.

The trains are greener and cleaner too. Regenerative braking is used to deliver energy back into the electrical supply network. The lightweight trains are 25% more energy efficient than the current fleet, which will help to dramatically cut carbon emissions.

Revolutionary on-board battery technology could also allow the new trains to reach parts of the region not currently served by Merseyrail services as well as operating as far afield as Wrexham and Warrington.

The new trains webpage is full of information and will be kept up to date during the roll out of the fleet – you can find out more at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/newtrains