Full steam ahead: Merseyrail roll out new state of the art trains for Liverpool

One of Merseyrail's new trains sets off from Liverpool Central Station Credit: Merseyrail

Report by Granada Reports Correspondent Anna Youssef

After years of setbacks and delays Merseyrail's long-awaited trains are finally up and running for the first time.

The first passenger service for the new Class 777 trains set off from Liverpool Central to Kirkby station on the morning of Monday 23 January.

The new trains are the most accessible in the county Credit: Merseyrail

It is part of a flagship project to give Merseyside a new fleet of modern greener trains.

The 53 hi-tech trains trains make up the first publicly-owned rail fleet in the UK, and are part of a recent £500m investment in the Liverpool City Region rail network.

They will be rolled out to the region in phases during year - starting with the Kirkby and Ormskirk line.

But the scheme has taken longer than planned due to disagreements with the RMT union, delays at the factory, and Covid.

A deal was first agreed in 2016, but after it was announced the trains would have no conductors or guards on board it took years to reach an agreement with the RMT union.

After a lengthy dispute and strike action a full deal was finally voted through to establish a new permanent position of train manager on the new fleet.

But the rollout was also hit with further delays following flooding at the Spanish factory, and the impact of the pandemic.

The new trains are the most accessible in the county, with sliding step technology to allow level boarding for all passengers across the Merseyrail network, including wheelchair users and those with bikes and buggies.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, was one of the first to ride the new train and said “These trains are designed in consultation with local people, they’re some of the most accessible and sophisticated in the entire country.

"But more than that, they’re a big part of my vision to build a network that’s faster, cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable, and a region where no one is left behind.

"This is just the beginning of a local transport revolution.”