End of an era as first Pacer train is retired from Northern service

From left, Coun Doreen Dickinson, Vice Chair of TfGMC, Transport Focus Director David Sidebottom and Northern MD David Brown,
From left, Coun Doreen Dickinson, Vice Chair of TfGMC, Transport Focus Director David Sidebottom and Northern MD David Brown,
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The first of Northern’s Pacer trains to retire has made its final journey after travelling more than three million miles in 32 years of service

The train – unit 142005 – entered service on 20 February 1987 and bowed out on Monday after completing its final day of operation by carrying Northern customers between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.

The much-criticised Pacer trains were meant to be a cheap, temporary solution.

But they still remain in service in some areas more than 30 years later.

Northern is introducing 101 brand new trains across Lancashire and the North - a £500m investment in improving customers’ experience.

Fifteen new trains are already in service.

An additional £80m investment is also being made to refurbish and improve the quality of Northern’s remaining fleet.

As the new trains come into service, Pacers will start to be retired from the Northern network on a phased basis over the coming months.

The new trains are being introduced on longer-distance routes, allowing existing trains on those routes to be redeployed and replace the retiring Pacers.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “I am delighted to see the start of the Pacer trains retiring from the Northern network.

"This is a milestone moment for passengers in the north, as part of our commitment to delivering more comfortable, frequent and reliable journeys.

“We are now starting to see brand new, comfortable, modern trains in their place, alongside the 2,000 extra services a week that have already been delivered.”

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said: “The Northern network is busier than it has been for a generation – more than 100 million customer journeys will be made on Northern services in 2019 – and the introduction of new trains and the retirement of the Pacers is at the heart of our transformation for customers.

“We have 15 brand new trains carrying customers, with 91 more to come throughout 2019 and into 2020. In all, we will introduce 101 new trains, a £500m investment in rail in the North. These fantastic new trains will give our customers a genuine step-change in journey experience.”