A list of the current passenger operators serving Merseyside and North Cheshire.
This section is intended to be a quick guide of the TOC's and type of Diesel & Electric Multiple units that operate in Liverpool, Merseyside & North Cheshire. You will find that surprisingly there is good variety of D/EMU classes along with livery variations although this is becoming more standardised within each of the TOC's. Currently, there are seven TOC's that operate in Merseyside including Transport for Wales, Northern Trains, East Midlands Railway, Trans Pennine Express, London Northwestern Railway, Merseyrail, and finally Avanti West Coast.
Below is a list of the TOC's including the lines they operate on and links (via headers) to the various timetables which should assist you in getting around the area. Of course take advantage of the various cheaper all day or off peak travel passes. As a suggestion, the best location to note all seven TOC's is Liverpool South Parkway Station on the Lime St to Runcorn line and you may get the added bonus of the odd freight train too.
MERSEYRAIL (MR): This mainly consists of the third rail lines that originate from Liverpool City Centre and is operated jointly by Serco & Ned Railways on behalf of Merseytravel. Currently they use a fleet of Class 507 & 508 EMU's which are scheduled to be replaced sometime in 2023 by new Class 777 emu's but no definite date for entry into service has been confirmed. The third rail lines are divided into two sections as outlined below covering approx 75 route miles.
WIRRAL LINE - Liverpool Central, James St, Hamilton Square, to Chester, Ellesmere Port, West Kirby, and New Brighton, There is also a link to the Transport for Wales trains at Bidston which goes onward to Wrexham Central.
NORTHERN LINE - Hunts Cross, Liverpool Central, Moorfields, Sandhills, to Southport, Ormskirk (onward to Preston) and Kirkby (onward to Wigan Wallgate).
Merseytravel also markets the :-
CITY LINE - with the trains originating from Liverpool Lime Street to St Helens, Wigan NW, Preston, Blackpool, Manchester and Warrington, but these trains are operated by 'Northern' - for further details see following link. Click here for copy TIMETABLES for the City, Northern & Wirral Lines.
NORTHERN TRAINS (NT): This TOC now under public control operates trains on behalf of Merseytravel (under the "City Line" banner) within the Liverpool area that originate out of Lime Street Station. NT currently operate a fleet of Class 150/1, 150/2, 156, 195, 319, 323 and 331's within the area, all in their Blue / Purple ex NorthernRail livery or in the new white/spotty livery. Currently, the lines to Manchester (via St Helens Junction) & Wigan NW (via Prescot) are now electrified and that refurbished Class 319, 323 or 331 EMU's are operating on these lines. However, NT will still require a fleet of DMU's (Class 150, Class 156 or Class 195) to maintain the service on the Cheshire Lines line to Manchester Oxford Rd, via Warrington Central. Northern Rail also have a Depot at Allerton (next to Liverpool South Parkway Station) which mainly maintain currently the Class 319 and 331 EMU Fleet.
"Northern" operate on the following lines:-
Liverpool Lime St - Huyton - Rainhill to Manchester Victoria and Airport.
Liverpool Lime St - Liverpool South Parkway - (CLC line) to Warrington Central & Manchester Oxford Road.
Liverpool Lime St - Huyton - St Helens Central to Wigan NW, Preston and Blackpool (also Ormskirk to Preston and Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate).
Southport / Kirkby - Wigan North Western / Wallgate - Bolton to Manchester Victoria.
TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS (TPE):Attempt to operate from Liverpool Lime Street via Newton le Willows (via L&M line) and onward to Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Scarborough, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Edinburgh. The trains depending on which destination they are going to, are currently operated by the Class 185, 397, 802 or Class 68's and Mk5 coaches. Sadly the TPEx silver livery is a lot to be desired on their trains and not liked by some quarters of the enthusiast fraternity.
EAST MIDLANDS RAILWAY (EMR): They operate from Liverpool Lime St and go via Warrington Central (CLC line) to Manchester Piccadilly, then onward to Stockport, Sheffield, Nottingham, Peterborough and Norwich. EMR currently use either Class 158 or ex LNwR Class 170 DMU's on this service. There had been a proposal for the future that Class 222's could regularly operate on this route but they only appeared on 'Grand National' day. As for the EMR livery, it was more or less based on the old SWT livery but now getting gradually replaced by a purple and white scheme.
LONDON NORTHwestern RAILWAY (LNwR): Another TOC that operates from Liverpool Lime Street with direct trains via the WCML to Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford, Birmingham New Street and now London Euston. All services are operated by the Ex London Midland livery Class 350/1, 350/2, 350/3 and 350/4 EMU's.
AVANTI WEST COAST (AWC): Avanti West Coast have the WCML franchise which includes the Liverpool Lime Street - Runcorn - London Euston service which are naturally operated by the white / dark green livery 9 and 11 car Class 390 "Pendolino's". AWC have a maintenance depot at Edge Hill which daily maintain the Pendolino sets. Sometime in the future, ten new Class 807 'Hitachi' EMU's will be introduced.
TRANSPORT for WALES (TfW): Since the reopening of the Halton Junction to Frodsham Junction line, TfW now serve Liverpool Lime Street, as well as serving some stations in the Wirral (Bidston to Wrexham Central) and North Cheshire (Manchester Piccadilly - North Wales Coast) . TfW currently use Class 150/2, 153, 158, 175/0, 175/1 DMU's and new Class 197's in the red and white TfW livery. Currently, TfW have reintroduced Class 67's on ex East Coast Mk4 coaches on the Cardiff to Holyhead (via Wrexham) service and hopefully in 2023 from Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff via Crewe.