Merseyrail Class 777 EMU at Headbolt station (Photo LCR  Combined Authority)

UK: Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram has announced reduced weekend fares on Merseyrail’s Headbolt Lane line until September, as ‘a goodwill gesture to thank passengers for their patience’ during problems with the introduction of the subfleet of Stadler Class 777 electric multiple-units fitted with batteries.

The BEMUs are needed for use on the 1·3 km non-electrified section of the line from central Liverpool to Headbolt Lane station in Kirkby which opened in October 2023.

From July 13 passengers travelling from Headbolt Lane, Kirkby and Fazakerley to Moorfields or Liverpool Central at weekends will be able to travel for £2 return, or £1 for children.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is paying for the discounts using funds recovered from Stadler.

Mayor Steve Rotheram at Headbolt Lane station (Photo LCRCA)

‘There have been a few teething issues with the new trains’, said Rotheram on July 9. ‘I wanted to make a gesture of goodwill to thank people for sticking with us. While I cannot undo the disruption that passengers have already faced, I hope this gesture demonstrates our appreciation for their patience and understanding.’

In January it was announced that passengers who bought a weekly, monthly, term-time or annual season ticket on the line in 2023 could claim their money back in full.

The Combined Authority has been working with Stadler, Merseyrail and Network Rail to improve the availability and performance of the new trains, with a 4 trains/h service to Headbolt Lane now reinstated.

‘As promised, the performance of the trains has been much better of late and should only continue to improve, offering the world class service local people deserve for years to come’, Rotheram said.

He added ’we are well on the way in our journey to building the most comprehensive integrated transport network anywhere outside of London’.