Liverpool spellbound by new metro trains
The rollout of new metro trains on the Merseyrail network in the Liverpool City Region continues unabated, with commuters on an increasing number of lines seeing the Stadler-built rolling stock for the first time. The fleet of 53 metro trains includes seven independently powered electric multiple units (IPEMU), powered by a battery and the first of their kind in operation in the UK.
The first new metro trains, designated British Rail Class 777 Metro, were entered into service late last week, following a delay of several years due to labour disputes and the COVID-19 pandemic. With an average age of more than 40 years, the current Merseytravel fleet that is being phased out is one of the oldest in the UK.
This week, the new trains made their debut on the Kirby line, with the Ormskirk, Wirral and Hunts Cross lines up next, local media reports. While good news, the rollout does mean cancellations and a reduced number of services from time to time.
The 65-metre-long metro trains will operate on a 750V DC third rail network and have a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The seven IPEMU’s have a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour. On battery power, they have a claimed range of 55 kilometres. They can be charged via the third rail in less than 15 minutes. There is also an energy recovery system to harvest energy from braking, and feed it back into the batteries.