For those that don't know, the 777/0 class is a fully electrified unit, with small batteries used for shunting. A Class 777/1 is also electric, but also comes with a bigger battery that is capable of taking the train for a number of miles (IE to Headbolt Lane, or Wrexham (which is part of a new Project that we reported previously).
We last saw a Class 777 at Birkenhead North, when Merseyrail invited RailAdvent to take a look inside the new trains back in September 2021.
Driver training has now been completed, and the Class 777s can now enter service with the operator.
Built by Stadler, the new Class 777 trains will be replacing the 40-year-old Class 507/508 trains.
When compared with the Class 507/508 trains, the new trains have more space for passengers and are able to carry 50% more passengers per train.
Whilst we have been inside the new trains before, we have never been onboard one when it is moving.
What is the comfort like I hear you all ask. Well, the seats are quite hard when sat on them for a Liverpool – Kirkby and return journey, but having done smaller journeys (Liverpool – Kirkby, or Kirkdale to Liverpool Central, for example), we found the seats comfortable enough. The leg room is plentiful and the big windows help keep the space fell airy, even with a packed train.
As we saw at Birkenhead, the Class 777s have a number of features for passengers, including space for bicycles, plug sockets and a dedicated area
Stadler's striking design was on show for the public to see and feel, it was great to see so many people turn out for a ride on the new trains.
The first train was full and standing, with many people commenting on how bright and airy the train was.
People also commented how easy the train was to get on, with no step onto the train at all, which made it easy for passengers with pushchairs and wheelchairs.
What we enjoyed seeing for the first time was the digital screens. These tell you up-to-date information on the trains journey, with an M logo that moves across the screen as the train continues on its journey.
One thing you will notice is the London Underground feel to the inside, you can see all the way down the train as soon as you step on board.
What does the new trains mean for the timetable? Well, with better braking and acceleration, once all of the Class 777s are in service, there will be a better service for passengers.
The Class 777s are in service on the Liverpool Central to Kirkby line at first.
A full rollout for the new trains, and the withdrawal of the old trains, will be a phased operation over the next 12 – 18 months.
All in all, we had a great day seeing the new train at in service, 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.
Commenting on the launch of the new fleet Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “This is a massive day, not just for our area, but for the entire country, as we launch the UK's first publicly-owned trains in a generation into service for the first time. Alongside the work we're doing on buses, active travel and integrated ticketing, we're bringing our transport network into the 21st century.
“Designed in consultation with local people, they're some of the most accessible and sophisticated in the entire country, with great new features like level access with sliding step technology, more room for bikes and wheelchairs, phone charging and Wi-Fi onboard.
“This half a billion pound investment shows the difference devolution makes. We're charting our own course, putting the public back into public transport and delivering the services that our region's 1.6m people deserve.”