The Liverpool City Region's new fleet of publicly owned trains has begun its final stage of phased rollout, with passengers on the Southport to Hunts Cross line set to experience the modern and accessible vehicles starting this week.
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, expressed his excitement about the commencement of the trains' service on the Hunts Cross-Southport stretch of the Northern Line. Commenting on the final phase of the roll-out, Rotheram said: “We’ve invested half a billion pounds in our new fleet, which are packed with great new features like sliding step technology, free phone charging and Wi-Fi and more room for bikes and wheelchairs – enabling more people to travel around our region.”
The trains were designed in consultation with local communities and operate on battery power making them the first of their kind trains to operate in the country. Alongside the improvements to the interior of the trains, the battery technology also removes the need for a live third rail. This vastly expands the possible reach for Merseyrail services further into the Wirral and Manchester regions.
Liam Robinson, Leader of Liverpool City Council and Transport Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, echoed Mayor Rotheram's sentiments, expressing delight in the rollout of the new trains. He said: “I’m delighted that the new trains for the Liverpool City Region will start running on the Hunts Cross to Southport stretch of the Northern Line from today.
“Their state-of-the-art features and innovative design will help to revolutionise how people travel, providing a comfortable and convenient journey for all passengers.
“I am confident that their positive impact will be felt throughout our community, delivering better connectivity and improving the daily lives of our residents.”
Sefton Council Leader Ian Maher said: “This represents a real step forward in improving our transport network and will hugely enhance the travel experience for those living and working in Sefton – as well as those visiting our region.
“With their step-free access for all passengers, the new trains will help more people use our rail network independently and with confidence – whether they’re travelling with bikes or buggies, or are wheelchair users or those with reduced mobility.”
The phased rollout of the new trains will continue over the coming months, gradually increasing the number of these modern vehicles in service. The Southport-Hunts Cross northern line branch, joins the Wirral Line and the Kirkby and Ormskirk branches of the Northern Line in benefiting from the introduction of new trains, demonstrating the region's commitment to enhancing its rail network.
Photo Credit: Liverpool Area Combined Authority