MERSEYTRAVEL has launched a programme to replace Merseyrail's ageing fleet of electric multiple units. It will start the tendering process later this summer, with the intention of introducing new trains in 2017.
'Expressions of interest' have been invited from manufacturers around the world, and a shortlist of potential procurement directors is being drawn up, with the help of headhunters.
The present fleet of Class 507 and 508 units was built in the late 1970s and only has about six years of economical life left. The accompanying leases will also come to an end at about the same time.
Merseytravel is the trading name of the passenger transport executive and the associated integrated transport authority, which awarded the 25-year Merseyrail Electrics operating franchise to a partnership of Abellio and Serco in 2003.
Councillor Mark Dowd, who chairs Merseytravel, said: "The Merseyrail rolling stock replacement project will be one of the most significant schemes undertaken by Merseytravel over the next few years, with consequences that will extend for decades.
“Getting the right person to oversee the project and creating the right project governance arrangements are the first priorities on the way to successful delivery of new trains for Wirral and Northern Line passengers.”
The governance arrangements will include the creation of several project groups so that various stakeholders can be consulted, such as local customer forums and watchdog Passenger Focus.