Stadler named winner in £700m Merseyrail fleet refresh contest

Swiss manufacturer Stadler Rail has been awarded a contract with Merseytravel which it says is worth up to £700m, to build and maintain 52 metro trains on the Merseyrail network, and build a Kirkdale depot.

Stadler beats Bombardier, CAF, Mitsui, and Siemens who were announced as the shortlist for the work in January 2016.

The contract begins in 2020, and will see Stadler entirely replace one of the oldest fleets in the UK, with new trains which will provide fully step free access for all passengers, making Merseyrail the most accessible traditional network in the UK. A new Kirkdale maintenance depot will be designed, built and operated by Stadler.

The trains will be able to carry 60% more passengers, while retaining the same number of seats, and will cut journey times by up to 10%.

The new four-car trains will all be in service by 2021, with the first unit arriving for testing by the middle of 2019. The value of the manufacture and maintenance contracts for the 52 trains is up to £700m and Merseytravel also has the option to trigger the manufacture of a further 60 vehicles.

The trains will have lower floors, only 960 mm above rail level, and will be entirely walk-through with no dividing doors, increasing their capacity to 486 people. Strong but lightweight carriages, built from aluminium, mean they will be safer and more energy efficient.

On-board safety will be enhanced by open and airy compartments with no dividing doors, as well as CCTV and a transparent cabin for the driver. The trains will have wider aisles, larger vestibules at the doorways, more grab handles, making the train safer to use for standing passengers too.

Through the maintenance contract, Stadler will undertake light and heavy maintenance of the units throughout their 35-year life cycle. Stadler will also oversee the maintenance of the existing fleet, which will be carried out at the current facility in Birkenhead.

Stadler will transfer 155 maintenance workers from Merseyrail into its own operations, bringing the total number of Stadler employees in the UK to over 200 people by 2019.

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Excellent, can’t wait. Just hope the myth about passenger safety and the need for a 2nd guard doesn’t rear its head



By Ahh

Yes. Myth. I use this network every day and fail to see anything the guards actually do. The distance between stations is so short that should an emergency occur the BTP are on call at very short notice. It’s a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo for the hell of it. It’s the same at the central stations – how many staff at ticket barriers doing anything but checking tickets does it need? Merseyrail is massively over staffed


Excellent news for Liverpool City Region. Just back from Porto, they have an excellent and extensive underground network, similar city to Liverpool with great river and dramatic topography where the trains plunge into the hills and glide over bridges. Merseyrail will be up with the best. Already just about the most reliable and best used city network in the country it has great scope for expansion to play its part in the renaissance of our great city. New stations in some of the disused tunnels around the city centre will be a great start, as well as Vauxhall / Stanley Dock for Liverpool Waters, and a proper fixed link to the airport from Southport through the city centre will be a game changer!

By Altmouth

This will do the job of the monorail that could’ve replaced the overhead railway but a lot cheaper and will have a huge impact.

By Altmouth

Yeah the monorail was always more of a Shelbyville idea anyway

By Nordyne

A Peel ploy to grab attention more like, and pay little towards anything. They will benefit hugely if Liverpool’s metro system extends to the airport. Merseyrail already planning a station for Liverpool Waters.

By Altmouth

Property owners benefit from infrastructure investment shock horror? For other cities, that’s called raising land values, and generally welcomed.

By Mike