I decided to have a good look at what Network Rail and their contractors are up to whilst the Liverpool – Ormskirk Northern Line of Merseyrail has been shut down for enabling works to take place so the stations are ready for the new class 777 Stadler EMU’s in 2020. All the photos were taken on 5th November.
The first couple of shots show the ongoing platform works at Maghull Station:-
This next shot in effect shows why the works are being done at stations across the Merseyrail network:-
If you look carefully (it may be best to click on the photo to see it enlarged) you will see that the floor of the new trains will be level with the platforms and a small gap filler will come out when the train stops at a station. This is so that people with disabilities, wheelchairs, and bikes can be wheeled straight onto the new trains without the need for station staff to meet trains with portable ramps as at present with the current 507/508 trains.
Here’s a look back at Maghull Station from Poverty Lane and a look northwards from Poverty Lane in the direction of Maghull North Station. Clearly, other works were being undertaken during the shut down such as cutting back overgrowing trees:-
We then move on to the new Maghull North Station where I think that snagging work from the previous works was taking place. There was scaffolding around the lift towers but I could not get a close look as I was advised to leave the station by a member of Merseyrail’s staff. I had wandered onto the station footbridge and had not seen any warning signs but advised to leave I was. The following photo was taken looking back at the station from the Park lane overbridge:-
And finally a look north from the Park Lane overbridge in the direction of Town Green Station. Again other works were clearly taking place in the distance during the shut down of the line:-
Click on any of the photos to enlarge them
The new Stadler trains (ordered by Merseytravel the Transport Committee of Liverpool City Region) which will be coming to Merseyrail in early 2020 look to be innovative and potentially class leading.
Here’s some photos from a mock-up of a Stadler train carriage so you can see how very different the new trains will look from the present rather elderly (40 years old in fact) British Rail built 507 and 508 trains:-
And you can see the mock up yourself too. Here’s where and how:-
The mock-up will be on display at the following times:
· Pacific Road, Birkenhead, CH41 1LJ: 1-14 October, Mon-Sun 8.00 to 17.30, Tues 8.00-19.30
· Liverpool Lime Street, L1 1JD: 5-18 November, Mon-Sun 7.00 to 18.30
The new trains are going to be fitted with battery packs so that they will be able to travel beyond the present electrified 3rd rail network. This brings all kinds of possibilities in terms of expanding the reach of Merseyrail to places like Burscough, Preston, Skelmersdale etc. without the need for costly electrification. Such opportunities are clearly most welcome and OPSTA* will be looking to pursue them at every turn.
With thanks to Bob for the lead to this posting.
*OPSTA – Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association
A present 507/508 EMU Merseyrail unit at Crescent Road level crossing – Birkdale, Southport.
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above
I have blogged previously about the worrying potential loss of train guards once the new fleet of Merseyrail trains is introduced and agree with the RMT union campaign to keep train guards for passenger safety reasons.
My concern all along has been that Labour-run Merseytravel have been unwilling to say whether they are specifying guards on the new trains or not and it seems they are still unwilling to come off the political fence they have chosen to sit on.
This quote from the Echo article is telling:-
But a spokeswoman for the travel body said it could not reveal whether bidders to run the service were proposing driver-only trains or not, citing commercial confidentiality laws.
Surely it was up to Merseytravel to specify that it did want the new fleet of trains with a guard facility on them then all bidders to build the trains would have included such in their bids. Why has Merseytravel seemingly left this crucial decision in the hands of the train builders to decide? This smacks, to me at least, of the Transport Committee abdicating responsibility.
The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
A random selection of photos taken along the Liverpool – Southport Line:-
Please click on the photos to enlarge them
Looking towards Bank Hall Station which is just beyond the road over-bridge.
This former railway tunnel once took a railway line under the Liverpool – Southport line at Bootle Strand Station. It is now a pedestrian walkway with the Strand Shopping Centre car park visible through it.
A Class 507 EMU arriving at Formby Station from Liverpool.
Steps down to the platforms at Formby Station.
Hillside Station clearly showing its LMS history.
A Liverpool bound 507 EMU approaching the Crescent Road level crossing in Birkdale, Southport.
Southport Station at night with a 507/508 EMU awaiting to depart for Liverpool.
Photos 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 are also amongst my Flickr photos at:-
My 1st posting on the Liverpool – Ormskirk Northern Line is available via this link:-
A selection of scenes from Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Ormskirk line:-
Please click on the photos to enlarge them
Merseyrail’s Kirkdale Motive Power Depot with Kirkdale Station in the background.
Aintree Station at night
The award winning work of the Maghull Station Volunteers literally on display at Maghull Station.
Pedestrian and road bridges where Poverty Lane crosses the line north of Maghull Station.
The entrance/exit of Ormskirk Station at night.
Ormskirk Station at night.
Photos 1, 3, 5 & 7 are also amongst my Flickr photos at:-
Could the new rolling stock look like this?
The Railway Gazette reports today:
Transport authority Merseytravel announced the five shortlisted bidders for a contract to supply around 50 new electric multiple-units for the Merseyrail suburban network centred on Liverpool on January 11:
Mitsui in a consortium with Alstom and East Japan Railway’s rolling stock manufacturing business J-Trec;
Tender documents are scheduled to be released on January 22, with bids to be submitted by the end of April. A preferred bidder is expected to be chosen towards the end of 2016, and the new EMUs would be delivered by the early 2020s.
The overall cost is estimated at around £400m, including upgrading power supplies and infrastructure improvements at stations and depots. Merseytravel said the trains would be financed using ‘a variety of funding mechanisms’, including a reserve which has already been already established. There would be no additional costs to local taxpayers, with the investment to be recovered over the operational life of the EMUs by leasing them to the operating concessionaire.
‘All of our five candidates have extensive experience of providing trains, maintenance services and depots’, said Merseytravel Chair Councillor Liam Robinson, adding that ‘as part of the process we’ll be interested in how the bidders may be able to tap into the local labour market and make the most of UK-based opportunities.’
The current Merseyrail fleet of 59 Class 507 and 508 three-car 750 V DC third-rail EMUs date from 1978-80 and are nearing the end of the lives, while ridership is growing by 2·5% a year and predicted to increase by 40% by 2028. Merseytravel considered options for using refurbished trains, ordering new ones or planning for a future order. It concluded that new trains would be the best option, providing faster journey times and the ability to carry ‘significantly’ more passengers. They could also be ordered with 25 kV 50 Hz capability to allow potential operation to new destinations such as Warrington and Crewe within the next 30 years.
With thanks to Bob for the lead to this story.