MORE than £300m is to be spent replacing every single train on the Merseyrail network.
Merseyrail’s fleet of trains is more than 30 years old and reaching the end of its useful life.
Jim Barclay, chief executive of transport authority Merseytravel, today warned that, if the trains are not replaced soon, “the network could start to have serious operational problems”.
Last year, Merseytravel asked train manufacturers for an idea of how much a new fleet of trains would cost.
It is now estimated the cost will be between £300m and £350m, and Merseytravel has asked headhunters Veredus to find a project director.
A leaked Merseytravel report states: “Merseyrail needs a fleet which will meet the current and future needs of passengers, as well as the demands of being operated on the most intensive network in the UK outside London.
“It must also be able to cope with the extreme operating conditions experienced on the network, including a corrosive environment in the underground City Loop section of the network and extremely tight curves, which create excessive wheel wear and wheel/rail interface issues.”
Merseyrail’s 58-strong fleet is rented from Angel Trains at a cost of £12m-a-year, which is funded from a government grant.