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.