The Anonymous Widower

New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Liverpool Business News.

This paragraph gives the details.

Posting on social media site Linked In, Joaquim Font Canyelles, project leader at Stadler Rail, said: “Our new Merseytravel class 777 IPEMU (Independent Powered Electrical Multiple Unit) proved its strength after running 135 km fully loaded and without external current supply, which is much longer than we expected.

Note that 135 km is 83.9 miles.

These are possible routes, where the battery-electric trains could be deployed.

  • Bidston and Wrexham Central – 27.5 miles
  • Canada Dock Branch – 4.6 miles
  • Chester and Crewe – 21.2 miles
  • Chester and Runcorn East – 13 miles
  • Ellesmere Port and Runcorn East – 10.8 miles
  • Ormskirk and Preston – 15.3 miles
  • Hunts Cross and Manchester Oxford Road – 27.1 miles
  • Kirkby and Manchester Victoria – 30 miles
  • Kirkby and Wigan Wallgate – 12 miles
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Chester via Runcorn  – 27 miles
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road – 31.5 miles
  • Southport and Manchester Oxford Road – 37.8 miles
  • Southport and Stalybridge – 45.5 miles
  • Southport and Wigan Wallgate – 17.4 miles


  1. All routes could be done both ways with the exception of Southport and Stalybridge and possibly Southport and Manchester Oxford Road.
  2. Southport trains to Wigan and Manchester would charge their batteries at Southport.
  3. Central Liverpool and Wrexham Central would not need the change at Bidston.
  4. Hunts Cross and Preston via Central Liverpool would not need the change at Ormskirk.
  5. A Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road service would be possible.

Batteries can add a lot of range to a city’s railway system.


If Merseyrail can get hold of the routes to Crewe, Manchester, Preston and Wrexham, the Liverpool City Region will have one of the best metros for a city of its size.





January 16, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Yet more evidence that battery power is much more capable than many people seem to think.

    I just wish they’d get a move on and actually start using the things. Once people experience them in action, it should dawn on decision makers that there are many lines/services around the country where batteries can replace diesel without problem.

    Comment by Peter Robins | January 17, 2023 | Reply

    • Need to factor in degradation and margin for operating incidents. Also the Japanese Hitachi units have identified hotel load as a big variable when temperatures are at the extreme if the operating envelope.

      Totally agree by now they should have invested in BEMUs easy decarbonisation win on routes with excessive under the wire diesel running. What people fail to recognise is the hard miles have been done with battery technology already need to reap the benefits now there is no magic bullet thats going to make them much better now in the Lithium space.

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 17, 2023 | Reply

  2. I was sceptical, when I first heard that Network Rail and Bombardier were going to run a Class 379 battery-electric train, until I rode it between Manningtree and Harwich in 2015. Even then the Bombardier engineer on board said it had a range of 50 miles.

    I am fairly sure, that as a version of these trains is also planned for the Tyne-Tees Metro, that uses some tram-train running, that another version of these trains could replace Manchester’s old technology trams. And with the other Stadler design of tram-train liked by Sheffield, it does look like Stadler will become the dominant supplier in the North.

    Comment by AnonW | January 17, 2023 | Reply

    • Batteries have advanced considerably since that trial, and Quantumscape and Solid Power both announced last month that they’ve passed on their solid-state process to VW and BMW respectively for their engineers to get busy on working towards mass production. So they seem to be on track for starting implementation around mid-decade. That should lead to further significant improvements in price/performance.

      Comment by Peter Robins | January 17, 2023 | Reply

  3. I was dabbling with DEAC cells in the 1960s, which were U2-sized rechargeable batteries. Things have already improved a lot. And the improvement is going to be vast.

    Comment by AnonW | January 17, 2023 | Reply

    • Is it though? look how long its taken to get from there to today. The step change has happened its incremental improvements from here. Rudolf Diesel didn’t keep waiting to make the compression engine better but by getting it into use that forced the pace of improvement.

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 17, 2023 | Reply

      • Stadler’s data sheet is an interesting very open read.

        Click to access mmer_ipemu0922e.pdf

        Comment by AnonW | January 17, 2023

      • Yes, interesting what they write about battery life.

        Comment by Peter Robins | January 17, 2023

  4. Merseytravel and the LCA are dead keen on all those routes and have an option on more units and equipping them all with batteries. Problem is they are DfT routes and that lot haven’t got a brain cell between them to see the vision that has already been laid out about what they could achieve in improving transport integration with these units.

    Mind you we mustn’t overlook the fact that both RMT and ASLEF have been bloomin awkward over introducing them and they still haven’t started driver training and these are people who work for a solid Labour controlled authority now who want public transport so the union barons need to play ball as well.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 17, 2023 | Reply

    • If ever the term lions led by donkeys needs to be repurposed, it certainly applies to the rail unions. I have met several railwaymen and women, who without prompting have been very critical of their unions.

      I think that the Stadler trains could be used to create a metro centred on Preston and to develop Manchester’s rail network. I very much believe that the 777 can work as tram-trains and we could see them linking up Manchester’s and Sheffield tram networks.

      Comment by AnonW | January 17, 2023 | Reply

      • For sure but DfT just aren’t interested.

        What we need in England (the other devolved nations are nearer to this model) is local transport being run locally. In Germany each Lander and its constituent cities have local transport authorities that coordinate all public transport operators be they private or public owned into one seamless system with simple fare structures. Liverpool have that vision so do Manchester but until DfT are only remitted to cover inter urban routes nothing will materially change.

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 17, 2023

    • LCR are supposed to be taking over more responsibility for transport, though quite how much and when I am not sure.

      Comment by Peter Robins | January 17, 2023 | Reply

      • Merseytravel come under the LCR metro mayor. The mayor is wanting all the LCR on Merseyrail, hence bringing Widnes and Runcorn onto the network.

        Comment by John | February 1, 2023

  5. There is an option for more class 777s which I think should be exercised regardless.

    If the original proposal and order process has been done properly, then there should have been clauses allowing the option to be exercised by any number of TOCS/DFT/whatever and not restricted to the original purchaser, i.e. transferability etc type clauses that you would find in any large multi-national. And the sort out afterwards which TOC runs them, lease or sub lease them.

    The extra units should then be put into service on routes around Liverpool so as to provide one consistent experience in the area and also to keep maintenance located at the same place (subject to to depot space etc). And whatever units are currently on these services then get cascaded elsewhere or allowing older units to be scrapped.

    Comment by TW | January 17, 2023 | Reply

    • Recently, when I think there was the cracking problem on the Class 800 trains, the Class 387 trains stepped in to fill the gaps. I saw c2c’s trains in funny places.

      If the leasing company agrees and the 777 trains are owned by Liverpool City Region, I suspect that a solution can be found.

      Comment by AnonW | January 17, 2023 | Reply

  6. […] The maximum demonstrated range is from New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery. […]

    Pingback by The Stadler Data Sheet For A Class 777 IPEMU « The Anonymous Widower | January 17, 2023 | Reply

  7. ASLEF have today voted to drive them and apparently two will be in traffic from next Monday. One of the 4tph routes is losing a service so they can use it to ramp up driver training so looks like with Headbolt Lane due to be ready for May 23 TT change you should be able to experience one in battery mode. Mind you that short hop isn’t going to stress test the endurance levels!!

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 17, 2023 | Reply

    • That’s interesting. I’m currently in Italy, but should be back next week – I might see if I can take a ride on one.

      Comment by Peter Robins | January 18, 2023 | Reply

    • I went to Ipswich on Saturday on one of Stadler’s 745. If the quality of the 777s are anything like that of the 745s, Liverpool is in for a treat.

      Except for a problem at a level crossing, all of Greater Anglia’s Stadlers were in service quickly.

      Just after they were running, I had a chat with one of Sheffield’s tram-trains’ drivers. He said that conversion was very easy and they were superb and a thrilling drive up and down the hills.

      Let'[s hope the good words continue.

      Comment by AnonW | January 18, 2023 | Reply

      • Anyone whose travelled on the test trains knows they’ve bought the right product whose interior was driven by public need.

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 18, 2023

    • First run today as announced, with Rotheram duly in attendance There’s a link at the end to a new section of the website specifically for the new train rollout. Looks like it’ll be a while before they make it to Chester, though 🙂

      Comment by Peter Robins | January 23, 2023 | Reply

  8. […] according to New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery, these trains have done 135 km or 83.9 […]

    Pingback by Could Class 777 Trains Create A Metro Centred On Preston? « The Anonymous Widower | January 18, 2023 | Reply

  9. […] There would be no need for any electrification, as Stadler, who built Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains, are the masters of battery-powered trains and could convert these trains to battery operation. Recently, one of the smaller metro trains, that Stadler are building for Liverpool, ran for nearly 90 miles on battery power alone, which I wrote about in New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery. […]

    Pingback by Suffolk: Sizewell C To Explore ‘Innovative’ Waste Heat Lido « The Anonymous Widower | January 24, 2023 | Reply

  10. The metro mayor of Liverpool’s remit is the Liverpool City Region. The train are owned by the LCR. Liverpool needs to expand the metro with its exiting network, not run off to far flung towns. The city has countless station that need reusing The eastern section of the Outer Loop can be opened using battery 777s.

    Comment by John | February 1, 2023 | Reply

  11. The metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Rotheram, needs to concentrate of getting his metro finish – Thatcher binned one third of it. To get the Outer Loop finished, he needs to lay out eight miles of track on waiting trackbed, build some stations, where stations once where, then use his battery trains. Costs then tumble as a major part of the expense has gone in electrification.

    Expanding Merseyrail into a regional rail network is a silly idea when his own city region is short of metro capacity.

    Comment by John | February 1, 2023 | Reply

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