Yesterday, Tuesday 7th September 2021, Merseyrail and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority invited RailAdvent to see the official handover of the first Stadler Class 777 following commissioning tests.
The Class 777 was presented to members of the media at Birkenhead North station, with Merseyrail staff as well as members from the Transport Focus Passenger Research Group, who helped to design the interior of the train.
These new trains are now ready for driver training before eventually being put into public service.
Merseyrail, however, told us that they still didn’t have any expected date for the new trains to be put into service.
Built by Stadler, the new Class 777 trains will be replacing the 40-year-old Class 507/508 trains.
When compared to the outgoing models, they have more space for passengers, being able to carry 50% more passengers whilst retaining the same number of seats.
Whilst parked at Birkenhead North, we had the chance to be one of the first to have a look round the new trains.
Parked in the station, we had the chance to see the new accessibility features of the new trains, including the slide out ramp that automatically expands when the doors are open, which means that passengers with wheelchairs and prams can get on the train themselves without the need for a manual ramp.
Wheelchairs are well catered for, with their own information screens, window and emergency call button, in which they can talk directly to the train crew.
The automatic ramp makes the Merseyrail network the most accessible in the UK, and hasn’t been done anywhere else, according to Merseyrail staff.
Prams are also catered for, with tip-up seats in carriages that allow parents to sit with their little ones on their journey
There’s also space for up to six bikes on board the 4 carriage train, with an impressive way of keeping them upright.
We were impressed by how bright and airy the train felt, having come from a Class 507 from Liverpool Lime Street Lower Level, these felt modern, and a great place to spend time in.
It was great to see so many power and USB points to, allowing passengers to charge their devices on the move, regardless of whether they have a plug or not.
There is definitely a London Underground feel to the trains, especially since you can get on the front carriage and see all the way down to the rear of the train.
With wall-to-wall sunshine and 27 degrees outside, it was great to take a step inside the Class 777 and feel the cool air conditioning working well.
The infrastructure for the WiFi system isn’t yet complete, so wasn’t working on the day of our visit, but we have been told that this is definitely a feature that will be available for passengers.
Stadler’s striking design was on show too, basking in the sunshine, we really like the design and livery of the new trains.
Towards the end of the day, we also got to see how the front door worked in an emergency, rather innovative stuff.
All in all, we had a great day seeing the new train at Birkenhead North, and we would like to thank Merseyrail, MerseyTravel and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for inviting us along to take a look at the new trains.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below. Video footage from our trip is currently being edited and should be available soon. This will be embedded into this article when it is available.
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