Rail in the North of England conference
THE INTRODUCTION of a new Merseyrail fleet is part of a wider package of improvements to the network, including better accessibility and digital connectivity.
David Powell, Programme Director – Rolling Stock at Liverpool City Region, updated the Rail in the North of England conference on the introduction of the Stadler-built fleet of 52x4-car Class 777s, replacing the current Class 507/508 EMUs. The first ‘777’ was delivered to the UK in January 2020, after a lengthy design process both before and after contract award which featured extensive consultation with stakeholders, including a focus group of 40 passengers.
A key aim of the interior design has been to provide a light, open interior. The lower floor height of the ‘777s’ means there is increased headroom, and wide aisles can be traversed by wheelchair users. The low floor height also responds to a key passenger ask – accessibility, with the platform-train interface the number one concern highlighted during research. A solution was developed to deliver step-free access, with the low floor height combining with the use of sliding step technology which can work even on curved platforms. Nearly 100 platforms have been modified by Network Rail, and the outcome will be level boarding at every doorway and every platform for every passenger.