Metro Mayer Steve Rotherham is on a mission to build a ‘Merseyrail for All’ with an initial focus on the city region, and progress has been made for this vision following the successful testing of the new trains within the Liverpool City Region.
The technology could make it possible for Merseyrail to extend into all six city regions, including Rainhill in St. Helens, Woodchurch on the Wirral and Widnes in Halton.
The new fleet of trains could also run services as far away as Preston, Skelmersdale, Wrexham, Warrington and Runcorn, creating an impressive transport network.
The innovative trains are much greener than the outgoing Class 508 fleet, using up to 30% less energy, and are planned to run services on a new station at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby.
The wider ‘Merseyrail for All’ programme could ensure every community is well served by an integrated public transport network, and new and refurbished train stations also being a high priority.
The stations hoped to be included are The Baltic Triangle in Liverpool, Carr Mill in St. Helens and Woodchurch on the Wirral.
Tram-Train technology along with trackless trams are also being considered as an approach to extend the Merseyrail Network especially in harder to reach locations.
These technologies could make a huge difference to areas such as Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Speke, Kirkby Town Centre, Southport Town Centre and Wirral Waters and the Knowledge Quarter.
The battery trials were financed by the Transforming Cities Fund and the new class 777 trains were equipped with the innovative battery technology and tested on the Northern Line.
The batteries outperformed expectations passing all tests during the four week trials during May and June 2021, with the trains achieving up to 20 miles without the need to recharge. The trains will also remove the requirement of a third ‘electric’ rail which will give trains the ability to travel outside of the existing network without the need for major investment in tracks.
Assessments are still underway on the full impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the project, and further information will be given regarding its roll out as soon as an agreement is reached.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “For people in some parts of our region, Liverpool can feel as far away as London. I want to change that. Merseyrail for All is my ambitious plan to extend the current network, so it reaches communities right across our city region and beyond.
“We know that our new publicly owned trains will revolutionise transport in our region but, after these battery trials, they’re going to help take it to another level entirely and ensure no community will be left behind.
“Good public transport is vital for connecting people with each other and opportunity. Our region deserves what London has had for years: a transport system that is affordable, reliable and easy for people to get about. I’m working to build one and these trains are a massive part of that.”
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