The Liverpool City Region’s new fleet of trains has been crowned Design, Engineering and Construction Project of the Year at the National Transport Awards.
Judges were left ‘impressed and excited’ by the ground-breaking £500m fleet, which was launched by Mayor Steve Rotheram earlier this year and is currently being rolled out across the Merseyrail network.
The state-of-the-art trains boast a wide range of modern features including pioneering sliding step technology that meets the platform edge, providing level access for all.
The awards were held on Thursday 5 October just hours after the new station at Headbolt Lane opened, which saw the city region’s new battery powered trains carry passengers for the very first time.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Portfolio Holder for Transport for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said, “Recognition for our new fleet of trains at the National Transport Awards is a great achievement especially on the same day we launched our game changing battery powered trains which are now running to the new station at Headbolt Lane – what a landmark moment!
“Everyone should feel really proud of our publicly owned trains, which were designed in consultation with local people. I am delighted that more people are able to travel on them as the roll out continues across the Merseyrail network, generating lots of positive comments from passengers.
“We’ve invested half a billion pounds in the fleet, which are truly accessible to all thanks to the sliding step technology. Not only are the trains modernising our journeys, but they are also part of the Mayor’s vision to build a network that’s cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable for people – a London-style transport network”.
Katherine Fairclough, Chief Executive of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said, “The new trains project is pioneering so well done to everyone who has contributed to its huge success, which has been acknowledged on a national stage.
“It’s also a fantastic achievement to have four finalists at the National Transport Awards which shine a well-deserved light on the achievements and commitment of everyone working across the whole of our transport network.
“Transport plays an important role in our everyday lives. We use it to get to and from work or education, visit family and friends or travel home after major events. The Combined Authority is continuing to invest in our public transport services for the benefit of local people, with sustainability at the heart of those plans as we journey towards zero emissions.”
A total of 53 new Class 777 trains will be introduced across the Merseyrail network, with seven initially fitted with battery technology allowing them to operate beyond the electric ‘third’ rail to reach Headbolt Lane station.
They are the UK’s first all-electric battery-powered passenger fleet, using up to 80% less energy than their diesel equivalents making them a key contributor to the Mayor’s commitment to reach net zero by 2040 – at least a decade ahead of national government targets.
The National Transport Awards Judging Panel said, “The judges were really impressed and excited by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s development work behind its new battery powered rolling stock.
“The new Class 777 trains which have now been successfully brought into service offer fantastic benefits for rail passengers including improved accessibility and inclusion thanks to new level boarding; a huge increase in capacity so more people can travel in more comfort; and innovative wireless infrastructure and passenger information systems.
“The judges immediately recognised this project, which was delivered within tight budgetary constraints, as worthy of being crowned winner of the Design, Engineering & Construction Project of the Year 2023.”
The Combined Authority was also shortlisted in three more categories: Best Alliance/Collaboration of the Year for its Eurovision 2023 Transport Delivery Partnership, Ferry Operator of the Year for Mersey Ferries and Regional Transport Authority of the Year.
In their 20th year and organised by Transport Times, the UK National Transport Awards celebrate the dedication, expertise, success and innovation of those working to continually enhance the transport networks across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Image: One of the new trains at Birkenhead North railway station. Credit: www.fotopiaimages.com