Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram with the new Merseyrail for All battery powered trains. Picture by Jason Roberts

Trams could run into Southport town centre under new proposals being considered by Merseytravel. 

The organisation says Tram-Train technology and trackless trams are being looked at as potential means of extending the Merseyrail network into hard-to-reach places.

Merseytravel says that the technology could benefit areas such as Southport town centre, as well as Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Speke, Kirkby Town Centre, Wirral Waters and the Knowledge Quarter.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has now outlined his ambition to create a ‘Merseyrail for All’, which has taken a major step forward with the successful testing of new battery powered trains in the Liverpool City Region. 

He said: “For people in some parts of our region, Liverpool can feel as far away as London. I want to change that.

“Merseyrail for All is my ambitious plan to extend the current network, so it reaches communities right across our city region and beyond.”

The game-changing new battery powered trains could allow the Merseyrail network to extend across all six city region boroughs to places like Rainhill in St Helens, Woodchurch in Wirral and Widnes in Halton.

It could also allow the new fleet to operate as far afield as Skelmersdale, Wrexham, Warrington and Runcorn.

Initially the battery-powered trains, which are considerably greener, using up to 30% less energy than the existing fleet, are set to run on services to a planned new station at Headbolt Lane, Kirkby.

The wider ‘Merseyrail for All’ programme could ensure every community is well served by an integrated public transport network and new and refurbished train stations are also high on the agenda.

They could include: 

  • The Baltic Triangle in Liverpool 
  • Carr Mill in St Helens 
  • Woodchurch on the Wirral  

Steve Rotheram said: “We know that our new publicly owned trains will revolutionise transport in our region but, after these battery trials, they’re going to help take it to another level entirely and ensure no community will be left behind.

“Good public transport is vital for connecting people with each other and opportunity. Our region deserves what London has had for years: a transport system that is affordable, reliable and easy for people to get about. I’m working to build one and these trains are a massive part of that.”

The new trains place the Liverpool City Region at the forefront of the introduction of pioneering battery technology on passenger services. 

They also put the city region in the driving seat for the decarbonisation of the rail network – aligning to the Metro Mayor’s ‘net zero carbon by 2040’ plans. 

Under the battery trials, financed by the Transforming Cities Fund, one of the new class 777 trains fitted with the battery technology was tested on the Northern line. 

The batteries exceeded expectations with the trains travelling up to 20 miles per run without the need for re-charging.

The battery trains would remove the need for the third ‘electric’ rail, enabling the trains to travel beyond the existing network without major track investment. 

The units passed all tests during four weeks of trials on the City Region’s rail network in May and June.

The Combined Authority and partners are still assessing the full impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the programme and will provide more information regarding the roll out as soon as it has been agreed.

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.comtown centre

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