I’m indebted to Keith Page for the lead to this posting, which is a video presentation of what the new Merseyrail train maintenance depot will look like when completed. The link below refers:-
Well I actually came face to face with a mock-up of one of the new trains at Birkenhead’s Pacific Road Building as the first actual train is not due to be delivered until 2019. Here are my photos:-
The two Merseytravel reps with the mock-up were really informative and helpful on the day I went to have a look, which was in fact the last day the unit was on display in Birkenhead.
It is now being set up at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station for a further period of display to the public – 5-18 November, Mon-Sun 7.00 to 18.30
My only worry is that there may still, like with the present 507/508 rolling stock, be insufficient space for cycles.
On an amusing aside I got into conversation with a fellow railway enthusiast about the new trains and they suggested to me that the seats were a little hard. Well firm, I’ll give you that but, but not uncomfortable in my view. The same conversation went on to compare them with seats on some Cumfybus buses which despite the name of the bus company are a little on the firm side:-)))
The first photo is also on my Flickr page at:-
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
So the RMT guards dispute is finally over and the near end result seems to be about the best that could have been hoped for by the RMT trade union and indeed the travelling public who backed them in their quest to have a 2nd member of staff on every Merseyrail Train when the new Stadler trains are introduced.
BUT, and its a big but, of course the new train fleet ordered by Merseytravel (the Transport Committee of the Liverpool City Region) was the cause of the dispute and I’m surprised that other commentators don’t seem to have grasped that pertinent point i.e. that Merseyrail were as much the victims of the political decision to have only a Driver Only Operation as the RMT trade union.
I do wonder whether behind the scenes the owners of the Merseyrail franchise (Serco and Abellio) had signaled (no railway pun intended here) that they had had a gut full of being the fall-guys for this dispute?
The following is from a Merseytravel press release
Ground work has started on the new state-of-the-art depot at Kirkdale where all maintenance work for the new Merseyrail trains, due to be introduced in 2020, will take place.
Warrington-based BAM Nuttall are currently undertaking enabling works after being awarded the contract by Stadler Rail Services, who will be manufacturing and maintaining the new fleet.
Preliminary work is due to start in October, with the depot build set to be complete by 2019, in time for the arrival of new trains for testing.
Features of the new depot will include:
· The creation of a maintenance facility for the new state-of-the-art Stadler trains.
· A driving cab simulator, including a full-size mock-up of a driver’s cab, facilities for a link between the trainer and trainee and a lecture theatre for people to observe the training.
· A new train washing facility.
· Stabling capacity for up to 30 trains.
· New offices and welfare facilities for the maintenance workforce.
Meanwhile, the existing Birkenhead depot will remain essential to operations, with plans for a second new train washing facility. Detailed plans are still being developed for this site.
Thomas Zweifel, Programme Director & Deputy CEO UK for Stadler said:
“Stadler will implement in the Kirkdale depot its state-of-the-art technology and maintenance expertise. The significant local investment and up-skilling of local workforce are strengthening the Merseyside industrial sector and will overall result in a positive economic impact. Stadler is excited to be involved in this project that will see new trains on the Merseyrail network in 2020.
David Powell, Merseytravel’s programme director for the new trains said:
“The new depot at Kirkdale and the refurbished depot at Birkenhead North will be essential in keeping our new trains reliable, clean and serving the Liverpool City Region well. The start of the ground works at Kirkdale is an exciting milestone – the first real visible sign that these new state-of-the-art trains are coming.”
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, added:
“The start of the work to overhaul Kirkdale depot is another step along the way to transform the Merseyrail network, moving us a stage closer to the introduction of new trains. We welcome this much needed upgrade, which will take the depot into the 21st century, equipped to maintain the trains to a very high standard.”
Added Paul Abraham, project manager for BAM Nuttall:
“‘We have been working collaboratively with Stadler during the tender stage of this exciting programme. From our Warrington office we have been able to provide locally based staff to support the bid and develop the programme. We will continue with this locally based approach throughout the delivery phase and also provide opportunity for our northern based supply chain. We look forward to delivering this key piece of infrastructure for Stadler and Merseytravel and supporting the local economy’
For more information about the new trains visit www.merseytravel.gov.uk/newtrains
Notes:- In February 2017, Stadler signed contracts to manufacture and maintain a new fleet of 52 metro trains for the Liverpool City Region.
The total value of the agreements, including the depot construction works, amounts to £700 million.
The deal also includes an option clause for the production and maintenance of an additional 60 units, further increasing the total value of the contracts if exercised.
With the maintenance services and depot construction works, it is expected that around two thirds of the total contract value will be invested by Stadler into the UK and the economy of the Liverpool City Region and the wider North West.
Stadler runs maintenance operations in 16 countries worldwide.
The new fleet of trains will be in full service by 2021.
Blog editor’s note:- Of course much of this good news is still dependent on the resolution of the present industrial dispute between the RMT Union and Merseyrail over the new trains running without train guards. The industrial action, which seems to have the support of many of the travelling public on Merseyside, will seemingly continue for the foreseeable future as the dispute is presently showing little if any sign of being successfully resolved. The RMT campaign is called ‘Keep the Guards’
With thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for the lead to this story