So it seems that Merseyrail have now begun the process of replacing their train fleet, which has been mooted for some time. The company has said that it estimates no more than six years worth of useful economic life left in its existing fleet of Class 507s and 508s, with the leases due to expire at around the same time. As a consequence it has requested expressions of interest, with a view to a shortlist likely being drawn up later this year, and the tender I’d imagine sometime early next year, with the new trains to be introduced “from 2017″. Now, I’ve been burned before when it comes to making predictions, as I said that it would be “political suicide” for the DfT not to award the Thameslink rolling stock deal to Bombardier. And what did they (not) do? Award the Thameslink rolling stock deal to Bombardier. Thus heaping monumental amounts of criticism upon themselves. But, it won’t be the DfT that deals with this procurement, but rather Merseytravel directly, in much the same way that TfL procured the rolling stock for London Overground. Which makes one think “will Merseytravel take the same option that TfL did?” for its new trains? London Overground’s Class 378s seem to be working well. I certainly have no complaints about them thus far. It has been suggested that they would probably be ideal for Merseyrail, as they are proven in service already, would fit the loading gauge and are easily convertible (as necessary) to dual voltage. In addition, they would be built at Derby. So, even though Merseytravel will no doubt be scrupulous in the process of procurement, what price them going for a Class 378 variant?