Ellie Ames 06 October 2023

Battery-powered trains hit tracks in UK first

Battery-powered trains hit tracks in UK first image
Image: liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk

The first UK passenger trains to run using battery technology have been launched in the Liverpool City Region.

The technology is initially being fitted on seven of the region’s trains.

It removes the need for a live third rail, which could enable the Merseyrail network to run to ‘previously inaccessible’ places, including Manchester, Wrexham and Preston, the city region’s combined authority has said.

The publicly owned trains set off from Kirkby’s new £80m Headbolt Lane station, which mayor Steve Rotheram said was developed ‘thanks to devolution and the power it gives us to shape our own destiny’.

Merseyrail managing director Neil Grabham said: ‘It’s the first time in 29 years that we have extended one of our lines and it’s thanks to the innovative new battery technology on the groundbreaking new fleet of Class 777 trains, that we are able to deliver this historic change.’

The new station and battery-powered trains are part of the mayor’s plans to deliver a ‘London-style’ transport network, which aims to make the region’s public transport quicker, cheaper, greener and more reliable.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has reported that an independent analysis showed that battery-powered Class 777 trains use up to 80% less energy than their diesel equivalent.

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