Merseyrail - C

Merseyrail - C
Merseyrail Future
There have been various suggestions for ways to enlarge the Merseyrail network. In August 2014, Merseytravel gave details of a 30-year plan for the network to be presented to the leaders of the city region.
Some proposals would extend beyond the current Liverpool City Region area, while others would use former existing lines or track beds inside the area. In November 2016 the details of the next phase of the Merseyrail fleet were announced.
If trains capable of use beyond the third-rail DC network are selected as replacements, various expansions can be achieved without electrification of the entire new route. The newly acquired Class 777 trains are capable of operating on non-electrified track, drawing this aspiration closer.
In July 2021, the metro-mayor of the Liverpool City Region announced that bi-modal battery electric Class 777 trains will operate on Merseyrail, extending the network. He stated "This capability means they could eventually provide a direct service from as far as Preston and Wrexham."
The Rail Strategy published in 2020 states:
Other options that could be further developed by funders or stakeholders (to meet connectivity based conditional outputs) following this study could be
  • Extending the Merseyrail network to Shotton (and possibly on to Wrexham);
  • Extending the Merseyrail network to Skelmersdale (and possibly on to Wigan Wallgate); and
  • Extending the Merseyrail network to Burscough Junction (and possibly on to Preston).
Merseyrail Proposed Future Stations
Merseyrail Liverpool Baltic Station
The former St James railway station, now disused, is located on the corner of St.James' Place and Parliament Street in the Baltic Triangle district, having been closed in 1917. The station is in a deep cutting on the operational Northern Line tunnel section between Liverpool Central Station and Brunswick Station.
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced in August 2019 that it was planning to use part of a £172 million funding package to reopen St James Station in Liverpool City Centre.
In 2020, a series of investments and land purchases advanced the case for a station at the site of St James in the Baltic Triangle. Part of the Spatial Regeneration Framework for the area includes a new Baltic Triangle railway station.
In April 2022, following a public vote, the new station was official confirmed as Liverpool Baltic station.
Merseyrail Headbolt Lane Station
In August 2019, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced that funding is available for the construction of a three platform station. The station will be the terminal of a Northern Line branch, and also an interchange on a Headbolt Lane to Manchester line via Wigan.
The platforms will be designed to accommodate any future Merseyrail extension to Skelmersdale. The station will accommodate a 300 space car park and bus interchange. In August 2021 network rail formally applied to Knowsley Borough Council for planning permission for a station.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced in July 2021 that Class 777 battery-electric trains will serve the new station on opening. The Merseyrail extension from Kirkby to Headbolt Lane will not be electrified.
Merseyrail Vauxhall station
In its 30-year plan of 2014, Merseytravel mentions the possibility of a new station between Moorfields and Sandhills in the Vauxhall area on the Northern Line. A station at this location would serve the under construction Everton F.C. stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which is near to the Northern Line.
Merseyrail Tram-trains
In August 2009, it was reported that a new tram-train link to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and a link to Kings Dock from the east of the city had been proposed.
  • Liverpool John Lennon Airport: the existing Northern Line and the City Line from Liverpool Lime Street to Liverpool South Parkway are being assessed. From South Parkway the tram-trains would transfer to a new tramway. Merseytravel commissioned a feasibility study into increasing rail links with the airport in 1995 but no further work has been undertaken.
  • Kings Dock to Edge Hill: a link from Edge Hill in the east of the city to the Arena at Kings Dock in the city centre was also being considered.
Merseyrail Battery Train Trials
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Long Term Rail Strategy document of October 2017 stated that trials of new Merseyrail battery trains would be undertaken in 2020. The aim was to extend the electric network onto unelectrified track.
A number of lines were targeted for electric third rail/battery train trials, for network extension. Merseyrail Class 777 electric trains have the capability to operate on unelectrified track, which otherwise would not be considered for track electrification on cost grounds. The lines chosen for the trials are:
  • Ellesmere Port to Helsby: the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Long Term Rail Strategy document of October 2017 stated on page 37 that a trial of new Merseyrail battery trains will be undertaken in view to incorporate the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) stretch of track from Ellesmere Port to Helsby interchange station onto the Merseyrail network. A successful outcome may make Helsby one of the terminals of the Wirral Line replacing Ellesmere Port, with Stanlow and Thornton and Ince and Elton stations brought into the network.
  • Ormskirk to Preston: the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Long Term Rail Strategy document of October 2017 also mentioned on page 37 the incorporation of Preston onto the Merseyrail network by extending the Merseyrail Northern Line over 15 miles (24 km) from Ormskirk to Preston interchange station. The aim was to make Preston one of the terminals of the Northern Line, with Burscough Junction, Rufford and Croston stations brought onto the Merseyrail network. The document stated, "The potential use of battery powered Merseyrail units may improve the business case. This will be reviewed after the Merseyrail units have been tested for battery operation in 2020."
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced in July 2021 that the trial had been successful. The new units were able to travel up to 20 miles on the fitted batteries. This opens up the possibilities of the trains being used to serve other destinations such as Skelmersdale, Wrexham, Warrington and Runcorn.
Merseyrail Extending the Network Via Battery/Electrification
Many proposals to electrify lines adding them to the existing Merseyrail network have been proposed over past decades. However, in 2017 the Department for Transport announced that electrification of lines in Britain will only be where necessary with many planned projects cancelled. Bi-modal trains with combinations of battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and diesel engines are the preferred options.
Merseytravel purchased Class 777 trains incorporating battery electric technology, having conducted trials on sections of unelectrified track with a view to incorporate into Merseyrail. The successful trials will curtail future full electrification of track.
To meet the ambitions of the Liverpool City Region's Long Term Rail Strategy, Merseytravel have clear aspirations to extend the network beyond the current Merseyrail boundaries. Locations such as Skelmersdale, Wrexham and Warrington have been targeted. Many of the lines that were proposed over the decades to be electrified are under consideration for battery electric operation.
Merseyrail Kirkby to Wigan
In 1977, the Liverpool to Kirkby section of the Liverpool-to-Bolton route was electrified being merged into Merseyrail. Kirkby became the terminus of the Northern Line Kirkby branch.
The former through service to Bolton was split into two, with passengers making through journeys having to change at Kirkby from the Merseyrail electric network to the Northern Rail diesel network onwards to Wigan and Bolton.
Electrifying track from Kirkby and extending the Northern Line to Wigan Wallgate was a long-term aspiration of Merseytravel in 2014. The extension was identified by Network Rail as a route where electrification would enable new patterns of passenger services to operate.
The aspiration was accelerated in March 2015 with the Electrification Task force placing electrification of the line from Kirkby to Salford Crescent in a Tier 1 priority category.
The line from Kirkby to the Headbolt Lane station will be operated by Class 777 battery trains when the new station is completed.
Merseyrail Ormskirk to Preston
Electrification from Ormskirk to the interchange station at Preston has been considered in conjunction with the Burscough Curves reopening, detailed below. It would re-establish the most direct Liverpool-Preston route which is one of Merseytravel's long-term aspirations.
However, in 2008 Network Rail said the benefit-to-cost ratio of the scheme was insufficient to justify this scheme in the near future though the scheme continued to be mentioned by Network Rail. Third rail battery electric train trials were undertaken in 2020 by Merseyrail on this section of track to provide a Liverpool to Preston service.
Merseyrail Bidston to Wrexham
The north–south aligned Borderlands Line from Bidston south to Wrexham Central is operated by Transport for Wales using diesel trains on unelectrified track.
There have been various proposals to electrify some or all of the line over the years, all have been rejected. The current view is to operate battery-electric trains on the line. In March 2015, the introduction of battery powered trains was proposed for the Borderlands line by Network Rail.
The Network Rail document proposes using battery powered rolling stock precluding full electrification of the line, also providing a cheaper method of increasing connectivity into the electrified Birkenhead and Liverpool sections of the Wirral Line. From the document:
"In the longer term, potential deployment of rolling stock with the ability to operate on battery power for part of their journey may provide the ability in an affordable manner to improve the service offering between the Wrexham – Bidston route and Liverpool."
KeolisAmey Wales, the former operator of the Wales and Borders franchise, Transport for Wales, announced in 2018 that it was planning to use refurbished Class 230 metro trains using electric motor traction supplied with power by on-board batteries.
An on-board diesel generator charges the batteries, with regenerative braking extending the battery's charge. The Vivarail built trains were planned to serve the line between Wrexham and Bidston. These planned new trains have put the full electrification of the line on hold. Welsh Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, stated that the Welsh government were in an advanced stage of talks with Merseytravel about running a direct service from Wrexham to Liverpool.
This intent was reinforced in July 2021. Steve Rotheram, the Liverpool City Region metro-mayor, has expressed desires to operate Merseyrail Class 777 battery-electric trains on the Borderlands Line.
Merseyrail Hunts Cross to Warrington
The Strategic Plan for the North West (SPNW) envisaged in 1973 that the Liverpool to Warrington line would be electrified and integrated into the Merseyrail Northern Line by 1991, making Warrington Central a terminus.
In March 2015, the Electrification Task force placed electrifying the line from Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central in the Tier 1 priority category. The Liverpool City Region's Long Term Rail Strategy has clear aspirations to extend the network to Warrington, using the introduction of the Class 777 trains as an enabler.
Merseyrail Southport to Wigan
Southport to Wigan has been identified by Network Rail as a route where electrification in conjunction with extension of electrification from Ormskirk to Preston and reinstatement of the Burscough Curves would enable new patterns of passenger service to operate.
In March 2015, the Electrification Task force placed the electrifying of the line from Southport to Salford Crescent via Wigan in the Tier 1 priority category.
Merseyrail Ellesmere Port to Helsby
Helsby is an interchange station on the Chester to Warrington Bank Quay and Ellesmere Port to Helsby lines. Merging the line from Ellesmere Port to Helsby into Merseyrail would create a Liverpool to Helsby service, giving a smooth interchange from Merseyrail to all stations on the Chester to Warrington line.
The Ellesmere Port to Helsby route is included in Merseytravel's rail strategy as a "long-term aspiration". Third rail battery electric train trials were undertaken in 2020 by Merseyrail on this section of track using the new Class 777 trains. The results may indicate that the network can be expanded to Helsby without further electrification.
Merseyrail Other Battery Electric Extensions
Liverpool City Region metro-mayor Steve Rotheram stated that the City Region is planning to extend the network "so it reaches communities right across our city region and beyond". The Liverpool City Region map displays desired extensions of Merseyrail including a Chester to Runcorn East line.
This line would operate on a section of the Chester to Warrington Bank Quay line, incorporating the Helsby interchange station. The Integrated Rail Plan proposes a new station at the next station, Warrington Bank Quay low-level. The new station will serve HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail expanding the interchange.
Merseyrail Overview
Owner: Merseytravel, Network Rail
Area Served: Liverpool City Region and surrounding areas
Liverpool City Region (Merseyside and Halton)
Transit Type: Commuter rail
Number of Lines: 2 (plus main line commuter services)
Number of Stations: 68 (66 managed)
Annual Ridership:
2019: 30.6 million
2020: 9.0 million
2021: 20.0 million
Chief Executive: Neil Grabham
Headquarters: Rail House, Liverpool
Merseyrail Operation
Began Operation: 1977 - 46 years ago
Operator(s): Serco-Abellio
Infrastructure Manager(s): Network Rail
Character: Commuter rail, National Rail franchise
Number of Vehicles: 57
Train Length: 3 cars, 6 cars during peak times
Headway: 15 minutes (general), 5 minutes (central sections), 30 minutes (Ellesmere Port branch, general in evenings and on Sundays)
Technical Track Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification: 750 V DC third rail
Rail Holidays
Rail Vacations
Luxury Trains
Luxury Tours
International Trains
International Tours
home Rail-Pass & Train Tickets & International Rail Holidays Hotel Booking & Hotel Reservations & Hotel Accomodation B&B Booking & B&B Reservations & B&B Accommodation Hostel Booking & Youth Hostel Reservations & Hostel Accommodation Chalet Rental & Holiday Homes & Vacation Homes Ski Pass Booking & Ski Pass Reservations & Ski Lift Pass Flight Tickets & Airline Reservations & Flight Booking Ferry Tickets & Ferry Booking & Ferry Reservations Car Rental Booking & Car Hire Reservations Excursions & Days Out & Day Trips & Theme Parks Rail Pass Booking & Rail Pass Reservations & Eurail & Interrail Rail Tickets & Rail Reservations & International Train Tickets Weekend Trips & Weekend Breaks & Weekend Away  Travel Insurance & Business Travel Insurance Eurotunnel Tickets & Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Reservations