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Renewal of the Merseyrail fleet

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On 16 December, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced its intention to replace 59 Merseyrail PEP-derived trains with 52 Stadler bespoke trainsets equipped for ‘driver controlled operation’.

Stadler four-section trainset for Merseytravel is intended to enter service around 2020 and be upgradable to bi-mode (third rail and 25kV ac overhead) operation

Yellow sides, grey front?

[Merseytravel reveals new £460m train fleet plans – with no train guards, ALISTAIR HOUGHTON, Liverpool Echo, 16 Dec 2016]

But the new trains will also see guards removed from trains, as each one will be controlled solely by its driver.

That means the jobs of more than 200 guards will cease to exist, though more than 60 new on-board customer service roles will be created.

Plans to introduce such driver-controlled trains on the Southern Railway network of commuter trains into London have led to a series of strikes and a bitter dispute between unions and train bosses.

Today, Southern commuters are enduring their third strike within a week as ASLEF and the RMT battle what they say is an unsafe way of operating trains.
[…]
Mayor Joe Anderson said he did not believe that safety on trains would be compromised with the new driver-only operation, highlighting the new trains’ improved CCTV and other improvements.

The partition between driver's cab and passenger space would be partially glazed, giving a (limited) forward view

‘Distraction risk’, or ‘passenger benefit’?

According to Merseytravel, “Roving Customer Service staff will be available on trains, targeted at key locations and times. This is in addition to other on-board staff which may include the British Transport Police, security staff, revenue protection officers and on-board cleaners as well as station staff, with all stations on the network staffed first to last train.”

Proposed train interior, intersection

Proposed train interior, intersection

[Merseytravel]

Key features of the new trains:-

* More space for bikes, buggies, disabled passengers and luggage; intelligent air conditioning; a bright, open and airy saloon, and a mix of seating types.

* Easier to get on and off. This will be achieved through reducing the ‘gap’ between the train and platform through: a train body configured specifically for our network; lower train floors; platform and track improvements and a ‘sliding step’ from the train – this combination gives almost ‘level access’ in a first for the UK.

* On-board safety – the train will be a ‘safe space’ forming one continuous space with no dividing doors; CCTV with images broadcast within the train saloon and to the driver and control room; a direct link to the driver and control room; the driver visible through a transparent cab door; on-board customer service staff, supplementing other on-board staff and staffed stations.

* Door safety – there will be traffic light system door illuminations indicating when it’s safe to get on and off; sensitive door edges that will detect ‘the pull’ from something as narrow as a tie or finger, stopping the train from moving or bringing it to a stop.

* Wider aisles, larger areas at the doorways and many more grab handles, making the train much easier to move around and safer for standing passengers.

Proposed internal layout

“More space for bikes”, where?

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Written by beleben

December 19, 2016 at 11:36 am

Posted in Politics, Railways

2 Responses

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  1. […] well as renewal of the train fleet, the modernisation of Merseyrail includes track, station, and depot upgrades. Renewal of slab track […]

    HS2 and slab track | beleben

    December 19, 2016 at 5:24 pm

  2. I’d note that had the fatal incident at St James occurred with a driver only operated train the victim would have been left behind on the track with the train carrying on and driver oblivious. It was the action by the guard to stop the train that prevented this BUT he was failed by the poor design of the train, and poor operating arrangements whereby the guard could not directly stop the train

    Looking at the timings and from the narrative, it would appear that if the guard had had a position from which to dispatch the train, based on a properly conceived design, the victim could well have survived. The fact that the guard he had to cross from the position where he could watch the departure of the train, to the position from which he then had to send a stop signal (1 long buzz) to the driver, and then the driver had to react with the emergency brake application, added a fatal delay compared to having a design where the guard could have immediately applied the brakes, without having to move. If there had been an emergency brake activation from the guard’s position, then, overlaying the likely shorter time delay in applying the brakes, the train would have only reached half the peak speed and travelled a substantially shorter distance.

    Given that many platforms are curved, or otherwise do not provide a clear view to cameras or mirrors and trains can get busy there does remain a concern over the absence of a safety trained person in the train to manage the passengers in the event of an incident on board.

    Sensible standardising of coupling systems would also be a useful benefit where routes are shared with other types of train, and given the chosen supplier a control system compatible with their plug-in bi-mode carriage would enable Merseyrail to consider a through operation to Helsby and Runcorn or extending routes from Bidston to Wrexham, Ormskirk to Southport/Preston, Kirkby to Wigan (or Upholland for Skem at the very least). Such routes could then be diesel operated with a common fleet of passenger vehicles, ready for immediate use as electric vehicles as the network considers growth and more efficient use of train paths/through services.

    DH

    December 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm


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