The aim is for Stadler Class 777 electric multiple units (EMUs) to enter traffic on the Merseyrail network before the end of the year, Steve Rotheram, metro mayor for the Liverpool City Region has said.
Speaking at the launch of the first independent electric multiple unit (IPEMU) at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin on 22 September, the mayor said: “hopefully this will give you an understanding of where these trains are aiming to be running before the end of this year.”
There are 53 four-car Class 777s on order from Stadler, with seven fitted with batteries. Speaking at the launch of the trains, the mayor told invited guests: “When I was elected as the mayor of the city region I promised that we would build a better, faster, and cheaper and greener public transport system. These [trains] are definitely cleaner and greener. Let’s face it, they look fantastic. And when you get a chance, go and have a look inside them. That’s the experience that the people who travel on these every single day will be getting.”
He said they will provide 50 per cent more capacity than the Class 507 and 508 EMUs they will replace, but he said the new trains represented much more. “As you know, public transport is so much more than just infrastructure. It’s about connecting people with opportunity and that’s what we intend to do.
“We intend to connect people with jobs, education, training opportunities, cultural attractions, and each other. These new trains will be a giant leap forward in making that vision a reality.
“We’ve invested £500 million in the city region, not just on the trains, but with making improvements to our platforms.
“We want to improve the passenger experience. We’re doing that with improvements to accessibility in our stations. And we’re also building new stations.”
The mayor also referred specifically to the benefits the IPEMUs, the first of their kind to be used in daily traffic in Britain. He said: “These trains will go to places that currently we can’t get to because we have a third rail infrastructure.
“So this is going to open up huge possibilities for us in the City Region. We’re rightly proud of what we’re going to do with these. They have been designed in consultation with the public and are the most sophisticated trains, but that also the most accessible fleet in the UK.”
He explained the accessible nature of the fleet: “You’ll see the sliding step technology as you come into a platform. That won’t be like in London, if any of us have been on the Tube in London as the step on these will come in absolutely level so people with accessibility problems or people with disabilities can use them, These are ideally suited to their needs.”
Steve Rotheram also told invited guests of how the trains have been bought by the region rather than a leasing company. He said: “These trains are the first in the UK that have been bought by us the public for the public. And we will be putting public back into public transport in the Liverpool City region, integrating this with our busses and our ferries.”