STAFF who will service and maintain the new fleet of Stadler trains for Merseyside have started a new training scheme.

Ahead of the introduction of the new trains on the Merseyrail network in 2020, training for Stadler employees began in Switzerland and will span for three months.

The development programme will involve stints in East Anglia, Spain, Germany and the company's two depots in the Liverpool City Region.

Eight members of staff from the Birkenhead North depot - which includes three apprentices - spent two days at six Stadler factories in Switzerland in order to introduce the team to the carriages, facilities and how they operate.

Keith Chapman, technician at Stadler Rail Service UK told the Globe: "The couple of days spent at Stadler locations in Switzerland gave us a fantastic insight into what it’s going to be like to work with the new trains.

"I gained such a lot of knowledge and seeing them at various stages of development in Altenrhein really brought the project to life for me.

"I’m excited about the rest of this training programme and already feel better prepared to maintain the new fleet."

The team also learnt about in the manufacturing process from obtaining raw materials to the end product and observed Stadler's quality inspections.

They caught a glimpse of the new Merseyrail trains on the assembly line, looking at cabling, pipe-work and battery boxes.

Thomas Zweifel, programme director for Stadler Rail Service UK, said: "The group got off to an excellent start and clearly learned a lot about Stadler products and practices.

"Our vehicles are highly innovative, relying on very sophisticated technology.

"I am confident that by the end of the training, they will be well equipped to service and maintain the new trains.

"Running on the Merseyrail system, they are being tailormade for the Liverpool City Region."

Now the group have begun a spell in East Anglia, where new Stadler trains will operate on the Greater Anglia network.

The first new train for the Liverpool City Region is set to arrive on the patch for testing and commissioning later this year.