I have been seeking reliable information about the process for obtaining the new trains and from what I can see at present the situation looks like this:-
* Merseyrail/Merseytravel/Liverpool City Region – have not selected the next generation rolling stock.
* It will only become known what new rolling stock has been selected once they (Merseytravel on behalf of Liverpool City Region?) have completed the procurement process that is about to commence assuming there is political approval for the procurement.
* The new fleet of trains will be a little smaller in quantity than the existing one, but will be able to cater for the anticipated growth in passenger numbers.
* There will be flexibility within contracts to allow additional rolling stock to be purchased, should the Merseyrail network expand.
Whilst at face value procuring fewer trains than presently run on the Merseyrail network seems wrong headed I think this will at least partly be explained by the new electrical multiple units being available a greater % of the time i.e. they will need less maintenance and will break down less than the units they are replacing.
Personally, I would rather see more units being purchased via the main initial tender so that they are procured at a better price than add-ons to the contract which are usually more expensive. Such a signal would also make the obviously required extensions to the Merseyrail system
Ormskirk to Preston
Kirkby to Skelmersdale/Wigan
Bidston to Wrexham
something that will happen rather than something that might happen. In other words make the extensions happen rather than just talk about them as has been the case for far too many years.
If the Liverpool City Region is to be a success it has to be well connected to the wider north west of England and indeed North Wales. Presently, by rail it is certainly not well connected so wider horizons have to be aimed for if a big opportunity is not to be missed.