The first of 52 new trains for Merseyrail has been unveiled in Liverpool by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
The Class 777 trains, which are being built by Stadler of Switzerland, will be publicly owned by the Liverpool City Region. They will be based at the newly redeveloped rail depot in Kirkdale, where the first example was proudly displayed having been delivered via the Channel Tunnel a few days earlier.
Designed specifically for the Merseyrail network, the new Stadler-built trains need to go through thorough testing before they will be ready for passenger service, including trials of their energy consumption, noise levels and testing how they work with signalling and other infrastructure.
Once that is complete, the new fleet of four-car trains will be gradually introduced onto the Northern and Wirral lines, replacing the current Class 507 and 508 fleet, which has been running for almost 40 years, making it one of the oldest in the country.
The new trains are just part of a half a billion-pound programme of investment in the Merseyrail network by the Liverpool City Region, which will help create 1,000 new jobs and boost the local economy by more than £70 million a year.
Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “I’m delighted to welcome the first of our brand-new trains – owned by us the public – to the Liverpool City Region – owned by us the public
“These state-of-the-art-trains are the most accessible anywhere in the country and they will help make our rail network fit for the 21st century.”
Merseyrail managing director Andy Heath added: “The arrival of the first of these innovative new trains is a significant moment for the Liverpool City Region.
“These trains, purchased by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and fitted with pioneering technology and features throughout, will transform the rail offering in the region and we look forward to being able to welcome passengers aboard later this year.”