30-year-old 'Pacer' trains will be replaced in Yorkshire

30-year-old 'Pacer' trains will be replaced in Yorkshire

30-year-old 'Pacer' trains will be replaced in Yorkshire

First published in News by

AGEING ‘Pacer’ trains, which are still running across Yorkshire will finally be replaced, a transport minister has said.

Stephen Hammond said dumping the hugely-unpopular “cattle trucks” – now almost 30 years old – would be a requirement for winning a new contract to run the services.

The contract for the Northern Rail franchise is due to be awarded late next year, with bids being sought in December. Northern Rail is believed to operate about 100 Pacers on routes across Yorkshire and the north-east, despite their unpopularity with passengers.

They consist of a bus body mounted on a freight wagon chassis, with a diesel engine underneath, and while there has been no suggestion that they are unsafe, the rail regulator has aired concerns about them being used beyond their expected lifespan.

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11:51am Tue 18 Mar 14

pedalling paul says...

Tory dogma almost eliminated the UK's train building capacity. Privatisation created Rolling Stock leasing companies who charge Northern £60K a year to hire a Pacer train. Even if Northern could afford to hire better trains, there aren't currently enough to go round. So despite the TOC's apparent commercial freedom to hire trains, in practice the DfT has had to act as a broker and dictate which trains can be leased by who.
Transpennine's newly electrified Manchester to Scotland service will release a number of class 185 diesel units, which were to be used to strengthen the most heavily overcrowded Transpennine routes through Leeds. But oh dearie me. Transpennine also lease some class 170 diesel units used mainly on their South Yorkshire routes. Their lease is ending soon, and the DfT has directed that they will go to Chiltern Railways. So overall Transpennine end up plus one train, which will hardly help them alleviate overcrowding. About time this ridiculous situation was properly addressed, rather than the rail industry being forced into a big chess game with its trains. .
Tory dogma almost eliminated the UK's train building capacity. Privatisation created Rolling Stock leasing companies who charge Northern £60K a year to hire a Pacer train. Even if Northern could afford to hire better trains, there aren't currently enough to go round. So despite the TOC's apparent commercial freedom to hire trains, in practice the DfT has had to act as a broker and dictate which trains can be leased by who. Transpennine's newly electrified Manchester to Scotland service will release a number of class 185 diesel units, which were to be used to strengthen the most heavily overcrowded Transpennine routes through Leeds. But oh dearie me. Transpennine also lease some class 170 diesel units used mainly on their South Yorkshire routes. Their lease is ending soon, and the DfT has directed that they will go to Chiltern Railways. So overall Transpennine end up plus one train, which will hardly help them alleviate overcrowding. About time this ridiculous situation was properly addressed, rather than the rail industry being forced into a big chess game with its trains. . pedalling paul
  • Score: 16

2:45pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Replace them with what?

The present (disgraceful) paucity of rolling stock suggests one option would be buying up TfL's redundant D78 District Line stock and running them behind clapped out Class 37s recently returned from building the high speed line between Perpignan and Barcelona. Unless anyone has any better ideas?

PP rambles on about Transpennine's 185s but Northern's needs are a different kettle of fish all together.
Replace them with what? The present (disgraceful) paucity of rolling stock suggests one option would be buying up TfL's redundant D78 District Line stock and running them behind clapped out Class 37s recently returned from building the high speed line between Perpignan and Barcelona. Unless anyone has any better ideas? PP rambles on about Transpennine's 185s but Northern's needs are a different kettle of fish all together. Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 3

4:49am Wed 19 Mar 14

Magicman! says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Tory dogma almost eliminated the UK's train building capacity. Privatisation created Rolling Stock leasing companies who charge Northern £60K a year to hire a Pacer train. Even if Northern could afford to hire better trains, there aren't currently enough to go round. So despite the TOC's apparent commercial freedom to hire trains, in practice the DfT has had to act as a broker and dictate which trains can be leased by who.
Transpennine's newly electrified Manchester to Scotland service will release a number of class 185 diesel units, which were to be used to strengthen the most heavily overcrowded Transpennine routes through Leeds. But oh dearie me. Transpennine also lease some class 170 diesel units used mainly on their South Yorkshire routes. Their lease is ending soon, and the DfT has directed that they will go to Chiltern Railways. So overall Transpennine end up plus one train, which will hardly help them alleviate overcrowding. About time this ridiculous situation was properly addressed, rather than the rail industry being forced into a big chess game with its trains. .
Also worth pointing out that the original 10 cascades trains from the North West would include some to bolster existing busy services to 6-car operation, but a significant number (6 units, I believe) are for a brand new hourly service from Newcastle to Liverpool via Manchester Victoria - that service starts in 7 weeks time and cannot be cancelled. So come next year when the 170's go to Chiltern, the simple fact is that additional trains WILL HAVE to be sought - it might even be that we see loco-hauled trains returning to the route (or maybe the odd Intercity 125 if there are any available).

-----

The Pacers only came about as a TEMPORARY solution to a requirement for rolling stock back when they were new. Several lines had bene closed, and the small branch lines that were open faced closure if they weren't viable - the solution was, essentially, to bolt a Leyland National 2 onto a railway wagon underframe, use the engine from the bus to power it, and run that along the branch lines (one of which was the York to Harrogate line, which faced possible closure at the time). Had those trains not been built, those branch lines would have been closed ages ago... BUT they are way way beyond their 'sell by date' so to speak. And the blame cannot be put at the doors of the company that run the trains.... Northern Rail's contract was awarded on a "No Growth" policy, in that by the end of the franchise it should still be carrying the same number of people and no more than when the franchise started 10 years ago, and part of that policy meant no new trains. If a company wants new trains, they have to approach the Department for Transport who will then underwrite the loan agreement to get the finance in place so the new trains can be purchased... the purchased trains then go to a leasing company who then hire them out to the train operating company and pass back money to the DfT incrementally over several years - quite why the DfT cannot just loan out trains diret to the TOC's so as to cut out the unnecessary middleman that are the ROSCO's, I don't know. The fact is that the DfT have not had the inclination to ever replace the Pacer trains, to spend the money on new ones... and the last trains that did come to the north were the Transpennine class 185's - and those were supposed to be 4 carriages long but the DfT said 'no' as they didn't want to pay out for the extra carriages.

The only reason the Pacers are going to be replaced is because of the Disability Discrimination Act - these trains are non-compliant and MUST be removed by 2020 or fully adapted, with massive space-age toilets which are big enough to swing a lion around in so that a wheelchair can turn around inside, in addition to dedicated wheelchair spaces and level floors (no steps).... the cost of adapting these trains is not deemed to make economic sense give the age of the trains and the fact such adaptions would have a monumental reduction in capacity per train.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Tory dogma almost eliminated the UK's train building capacity. Privatisation created Rolling Stock leasing companies who charge Northern £60K a year to hire a Pacer train. Even if Northern could afford to hire better trains, there aren't currently enough to go round. So despite the TOC's apparent commercial freedom to hire trains, in practice the DfT has had to act as a broker and dictate which trains can be leased by who. Transpennine's newly electrified Manchester to Scotland service will release a number of class 185 diesel units, which were to be used to strengthen the most heavily overcrowded Transpennine routes through Leeds. But oh dearie me. Transpennine also lease some class 170 diesel units used mainly on their South Yorkshire routes. Their lease is ending soon, and the DfT has directed that they will go to Chiltern Railways. So overall Transpennine end up plus one train, which will hardly help them alleviate overcrowding. About time this ridiculous situation was properly addressed, rather than the rail industry being forced into a big chess game with its trains. .[/p][/quote]Also worth pointing out that the original 10 cascades trains from the North West would include some to bolster existing busy services to 6-car operation, but a significant number (6 units, I believe) are for a brand new hourly service from Newcastle to Liverpool via Manchester Victoria - that service starts in 7 weeks time and cannot be cancelled. So come next year when the 170's go to Chiltern, the simple fact is that additional trains WILL HAVE to be sought - it might even be that we see loco-hauled trains returning to the route (or maybe the odd Intercity 125 if there are any available). ----- The Pacers only came about as a TEMPORARY solution to a requirement for rolling stock back when they were new. Several lines had bene closed, and the small branch lines that were open faced closure if they weren't viable - the solution was, essentially, to bolt a Leyland National 2 onto a railway wagon underframe, use the engine from the bus to power it, and run that along the branch lines (one of which was the York to Harrogate line, which faced possible closure at the time). Had those trains not been built, those branch lines would have been closed ages ago... BUT they are way way beyond their 'sell by date' so to speak. And the blame cannot be put at the doors of the company that run the trains.... Northern Rail's contract was awarded on a "No Growth" policy, in that by the end of the franchise it should still be carrying the same number of people and no more than when the franchise started 10 years ago, and part of that policy meant no new trains. If a company wants new trains, they have to approach the Department for Transport who will then underwrite the loan agreement to get the finance in place so the new trains can be purchased... the purchased trains then go to a leasing company who then hire them out to the train operating company and pass back money to the DfT incrementally over several years - quite why the DfT cannot just loan out trains diret to the TOC's so as to cut out the unnecessary middleman that are the ROSCO's, I don't know. The fact is that the DfT have not had the inclination to ever replace the Pacer trains, to spend the money on new ones... and the last trains that did come to the north were the Transpennine class 185's - and those were supposed to be 4 carriages long but the DfT said 'no' as they didn't want to pay out for the extra carriages. The only reason the Pacers are going to be replaced is because of the Disability Discrimination Act - these trains are non-compliant and MUST be removed by 2020 or fully adapted, with massive space-age toilets which are big enough to swing a lion around in so that a wheelchair can turn around inside, in addition to dedicated wheelchair spaces and level floors (no steps).... the cost of adapting these trains is not deemed to make economic sense give the age of the trains and the fact such adaptions would have a monumental reduction in capacity per train. Magicman!
  • Score: 3

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