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New trains for the Merseyrail Network begin to take shape

THE new state of-the art fleet for the Merseyrail Network is beginning to take shape with a crucial milestone reached in the manufacturing process. The basic structure of the 1st train is now complete, with the wheelsets (bogies) attached to the bodyshell and factory based testing has commenced. Train manufacturer Stadler will be putting 52 trains through the process. Fadi Khairallah, project manager at Stadler, said:- "Witnessing the fusion of these 2 basic components is an almost moving experience and we are very excited to have reached this hugely symbolic point in the manufacturing process. With so much progress having been made over the last few months, we look forward to starting the crucial test phase over the coming months."

Once the 'marriage' is complete, trains will undergo routine static commissioning as a 1st step in preparing them for the authorisation required to enter service. Dynamic testing will kick off at a test-ring in Wildenrath, Germany later this autumn. Andy Heath, managing director at Merseyrail, concluded:- "This milestone in the new fleet project is a huge step closer to introducing these state of the art trains onto our network which will transform rail travel in the Liverpool City Region. Works through September and October will complete the platform upgrade programme that will support the new trains' pioneering sliding step technology offering unassisted access for all, as well as improving power supply across the network."

Much of the testing is being undertaken at this purpose built facility to minimise the need for testing and any associated disruption on the Merseyrail Network itself. The 1st train is due to arrive in Liverpool for testing later in 2019. The trains will begin to be rolled out for passengers from 2020. Meanwhile, much work is underway in the Liverpool City Region in preparation for the new trains. The re-build of the Kirkdale depot is nearing completion and platform upgrade works to ensure level access at all stations onto the train, is entering its final phase.  Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram added that:- "This is where vision really starts to become reality. These state of the art trains are game changing, not just for us, but for the whole industry. Not only will they be UK leading in accessibility, they are also publically owned, by us, and built specifically for our network and with features local people have said they want to see. I cannot wait to see them arrive on our network."

Edge Hill shortlisted for higher education 'Oscars'

EDGE Hill University has been shortlisted in two categories in the prestigious Times Higher Education 'THE Awards.' The institution has been recognised in the Outstanding Library Team and Outstanding Estates Strategy categories in what is widely recognised as the Oscars of the higher education sector.

Staff at Edge Hill's library were recognised for excellence in customer service, particularly the re-shaping of frontline student support following the opening of the new ₤27m Catalyst building which houses the library, careers and student services. The team have worked hard to build a new, more personal approach to library services within Catalyst, placing each student's needs and personal preferences at the heart of every decision.

It was the Facilities Management team's customer focused culture and its positive contribution to the University's core business of attracting, recruiting and retaining students which shone through for the Times Higher Education judging panel in the second shortlisting. Their ambition was to provide a more sustainable living and working environment which is also high quality and cost effective, from creating energy efficient buildings to reducing construction costs through innovative heating, lighting and waste water disposal.

Catalyst was again highlighted as testament to the University's vision to create a visually inspiring and sustainable environment for everyone on campus.

Steve Igoe, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University, said:- "We are delighted that Edge Hill has been shortlisted in not just 1 but 2 of this year's Times Higher Education awards categories. Here at the University we are very proud of the hard work carried out by our staff and of our stunning campus which boasts innovative architecture and outstanding facilities. Students are at the heart of what we do so to hear that we've been shortlisted because of our commitment to exceptional services and creating the best facilities for our students to learn in feels well deserved."

The 'THE' awards attract hundreds of entries from UK higher education institutes which demonstrate the talent, dedication and innovation of individuals and teams across all aspects of university life. The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony, at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, on Thursday, 28 November 2019. 

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