AS Merseyrail prepares to celebrate its 40th birthday this month, we reveal some surprising facts about the train operator.
1. Merseyrail commuters have travelled over 180 million miles – that’s the equivalent of a round trip between the Earth & the Sun!
2. During the famous Grand National festival, Merseyrail has handed out over 100,000 pairs of flip flops to soothe the tired feet of racegoers.
3. An incredible £1million pound has been raised by staff for local charities.
4. Three weddings have taken place on the train network.
5. Liverpool Central station is one of the busiest stations outside of London.
6. Merseyrail is regularly used for filming and has featured as a location for X Factor, Hollyoaks and Who Do You Think You Are among many others.
7. The racehorse Red Rum, football legends Dixie Dean and Bob Paisley and DJ John Peel have all had Merseyrail trains named after them.
8. There are 47 Merseyrail station community partnerships with 100 volunteers. Schemes include wildflower embankments and edible schemes such as herbs, vegetables and fruit for all to pick and enjoy.
9. The Merseyrail Sound Station programme has championed new music in Merseyside since 2012, and this year one artist, Eyesore and the Jinx, signed a management deal off the back off the event.
10. Merseyrail carries around 110,000 passengers per weekday.
11. Ainsdale station is the most environmentally-friendly station on the network & includes solar panels, low energy LED lighting with smart controls and rainwater harvesting tanks to serve the toilet facilities.
12. The National Rail Passenger Survey named Merseyrail as one of the top 3 rail companies in the UK in 2018.
13. A time capsule is buried in the foundations of the new £13 million state-of-the-art Maghull North station, which will be re-opened in 2068.
14. Merseyrail services now run to 68 stations.
15. There are now five book exchange programmes in operation on the Wirral line including Hoylake, Manor Road, Meols, Port Sunlight and Bebington stations.
16. A new fleet of state-of-the-art trains will arrive on the network in 2020 to replace the current fleet of 40 year old trains.
17. A special commemorative plaque, paying tribute to the survivors of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, who assisted in the rescue of fans, was unveiled at Central station in 2017, on behalf of the late campaigner Anne Williams.
18. Merseyrail operates over 600 regular services per day, every 15 minutes.
19. Merseyrail’s Managing Director, Andy Heath, is a lifelong railwayman who started as a graduate trainee and became Merseyrail MD in December 2017.
20. The Wirral loop line was opened in 1977, the same year the BeeGees released Stayin’ Alive.
21. Kirkdale train station has an award-winning Everton Football Club-themed garden after it was officially adopted by Everton Free School.
22. In 2012, Merseyrail sponsored Southport Football Club and the Haig Avenue ground was renamed the Merseyrail Community Stadium.
23. Built in 1898, James Street station is the oldest deep level underground station in the world.
24. Liverpool South Parkway station is cooled and heated using a geothermal system which provides under-floor heating for concourse.
25. To encourage greener and healthier travel Merseyrail offer over 1500 cycle spaces as well as the Bike & Go bike hire scheme at stations across the network.
26. The current fleet has been running on the Merseyrail network since the late 1970s and is the oldest in the UK.
27. Merseyrail’s new trains, which are due to be introduced in 2020, will feature free internet access – even in tunnels.
28. Merseyrail’s network currently stretches 75 miles between Southport, Cheshire, Ellesmere Port, and the Wirral.
29. Merseyrail’s underground network is 6.5 miles long.
30. Every Christmas, Merseyrail runs late-night festive trains to help get people home in time for Santa’s arrival.
31. Merseyrail’s planned new £460m train fleet will be environmentally-friendly
32. Bootle’s Oriel Road station is home to the “Boy With The Ball” statue, in memory of schoolboy Stephen Nesbitt, who tragically died after stepping on a live rail.
33. The Wirral Line was one of the first lines to use electric trains instead of steam trains outside of London.
34. Maghull North station was opened in 2018 – Merseyrail’s first new station in 20 years.
36. Liverpool South Parkway station was built on the site of the Holly Park stadium, famed for having hosted one of the world’s greatest ever footballers – Ferenc Puskas.
37. Renowned World War 1 poet Siegfried Sassoon travelled to Freshfield station before walking the short distance to Formby beach where he famously threw part of his Military Cross into the sea.
38. Merseyrail trains have been re-wrapped 5 times in the last 40 years.
39. Platform two of James Street station is home to Tim Chalk and Paul Grime’s four panelled plaster sculpture ‘Dream Passage’, which was installed at the station in 1992.
40. Passengers using Central station have doubled in a decade – from 7.2m in 2006-2007 to 16m in 2016-17.