The new trains will replace the fleet of 59 class 507/508 EMUs, which date from 1978-1980. A new maintenance depot at Kirkdale will be designed, built and operated by Stadler.

Capacity will be increased by 60% and journey times will be cut by up to 10%. The new trains will provide step-free access for all passengers.

The first four-car train will begin testing in the middle of 2019 and the entire fleet will be in operations by 2021. The contract includes an option for a further 60 trains.

The 64.98m-long and 2.82m-wide trains will accommodate 486 passengers (182 seated, 302 standing and two wheelchair users). They will operate on 750V dc third rail network and will have a maximum speed of 120km/h.

The trains will also be equipped for 25 kV AC operation and ETCS Level 2. Stadler says Onboard safety will be increased by CCTV and a transparent driver’s cab wall. The compartments will be open with wide aisles and more grab handles.

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