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Merseytravel launches tender for new fleet and depot worth up to £700m

Merseytravel has put out a tender worth up to £700m for new rolling stock set to replace the 59 three-car Class 507/508 EMUs currently running on its network – one of the oldest fleets still running, having been built in the late 1970s at York.

Merseytravel expects to need a new fleet of 50 units, each 60m long, but it is up to the bidders to specify what they intend to provide.

Bidders are expected to request participation in the procurement until 19 November, with successful contractors shortlisted in January 2016. The contract will be awarded in November 2016.

The tender includes four principal agreements with an estimated value ranging between £200m and £700m, comprising a new fleet and maintenance depot.

The first of these includes a manufacture and supply agreement (MSA) for the design, manufacture, testing, commissioning and supply of the new fleet. This will require the successful bidder to both provide details of the units in mock-ups and to supply a cab simulator to assist with driver training.

The second agreement will see a train availability and reliability agreement (TARA) for the provision of running, heavy maintenance, servicing and cleaning services in the fleet, particularly to ensure that it complies with the Merseyrail Electrics timetable and delivers maximum value for money.

The successful bidder will be responsible for the long-term running and heavy maintenance of the fleet, as well as to make future modifications to units – such as the conversion of the traction power supply from the third rail DC system to an a dual voltage system that uses both third rail and overhead line electric traction power systems.

A maintenance sub-contract (MSC) makes up the third agreement, whose scope includes all maintenance and repair works as well as in-depot servicing and cleaning on the existing fleet, necessary to meet Merseyrail’s existing maintenance and customer-facing obligations “pending the redelivery of the existing fleet to Angel Trains Ltd” – alongside a “phased introduction” of the new fleet.

The last agreement, a depot construction contract (DCC), will include the design, construction, fit-out, commissioning and completion of depot facilities in which the new fleet will be maintained under the TARA. The new maintenance facilities are likely to  include a shed covering three inspection rotes with pits, cranes and/or jacks and test facilities, as well as a train exterior wash plant and specialist cleaning area.

The existing maintenance facilities and the Kirkdale and the Birkenhead North depots will be at the hands of the successful bidder, requiring it to enter into leases with Network Rail.

The TARA and the MSC contracts can ported across to a future operator in the event of a change (known as novation).

Merseytravel will also have the option to order up to 60 extra units in addition to the amount of units comprising the initial fleet, to be supplied under the MSA – or additional vehicles to allow the originally supplied units to be lengthened.

Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel, said: “Giving the procurement process the green light to proceed is a decision taken both out of practicality and ambition for the Merseyrail network, the people who use it and the city region economy. We can't stand still.

“Now it's up to the bidders to help shape our vision. This isn't about new trains because we simply want a new train set, it's because we recognise that a new fleet, and the associated works, is essential for providing services that people and business can rely on, as well as being astimulus for further economic growth.”

The transport authority anticipates that the contract will be awarded to a single firm. Successful tender applicants will be shortlisted to receive an invitation to negotiate.

It will hold an industry day for potential applicants to provide further information about its rolling stock programme, set to be held on 12 January in Liverpool.

Merseytravel had previously put forward plans to the Merseytravel Committee to invest in new rolling stock, originally expected to cost £400m.

It said a “new set of trains from the early 2020s is considered the best option to support the delivery of the City Region’s Long Term Rail Strategy”.

Merseytravel says a new fleet will improve already high levels of performance and customer satisfaction, which are proving increasingly challenging and costly as the existing fleet ages – especially as a further 40% increase in passenger numbers is expected by 2028.


Lutz   09/10/2015 at 23:03

Why would you want a separate procurement for Merseyside? Would it not be more efficient to integrate the operation and future fleet into the TfN operations?

David   13/10/2015 at 10:34

Presumably because this is a unique captive fleet that can't be deployed on any other part of the network

Mark P   13/10/2015 at 16:00

Why wouldn't you want a separate procurement for Greater Liverpool, given it's a third rail fleet that serves the Greater Liverpool area. Same reasons as to why TfGM buys the trams for the Metrolink or TfL buys the trains for the tube. The question I often wonder is why do so many people seem to have such a weird problem with, and only with, Greater Liverpool and particularly with anything that makes Greater Liverpool stand out as distinct.

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2015 at 00:47

The Class 507 and Class 508 EMU trains are getting old and thats why Merseyrail needs new trains to scrap the Class 507 & Class 508 trains as the new trains are to be longer and to be fully air-conditioned.

Lutz   12/01/2016 at 23:39

@David, @Mark P Because if it is a dual-voltage fleet it will not be captive, nor would it be an advantage to the travelling public to have it as a separate operator to Northern if Merseyrail services are extended beyond the Merseyside boundaries.

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