YORK'S National Railway Museum has welcomed a diesel Pacer train to its collection.

The Pacer No. 142001, with its flat front, bus seating and functional design, will be preserved as an example of recent railway history.

It is being donated by Angel Trains and was previously operated by Northern across North-West England.

The first Pacers were built in 1984 to create reliable and affordable trains to replace ageing diesels from the 1950s and 1960s. The train body was based on a Leyland National bus and many fixtures and fittings are shared by both vehicles. Simple to build, run and maintain, Pacers provided an essential rail link in many parts of Northern England and Wales.

With their low speeds and basic features, Pacers have divided passenger opinion, but represent an important part of life on Britain’s railways in the late 20th Century.

NRM senior curator of rail transport and technology Anthony Coulls said No. 142001 represented 'the reality of commuter travel from the 1980s until today'. "Though much derided in recent years, their lightweight bus bodies and simple mechanics have made them a qualified success – otherwise they would not have remained in service for so long. It's fair to say that they have played their part in saving many rural lines from closure or further cutbacks.”

It will go on display in Shildon.

Kevin Tribley, CEO of Angel Trains, said: “We have supported the National Railway Museum for many years and take pride in playing our part to preserve the history of our railways by donating a Pacer unit to this prestigious collection. While we continue to move forwards investing in and creating the railway of the future, it is equally important that we remember the trains that formed part of the journey to getting us to where we are today.”

Unit No. 142001 is the first of the 96 second-generation Pacers to be built by British Rail Engineering at Derby between 1985 and 1987.

The class 142 Pacer can seat between 102 and 120 passengers and has a top speed of 75mph. No. 142001 was built by British Rail Engineering Limited at its Litchurch Lance facility in Derby, and has spent most of its life travelling around the North West of England in Northern livery.

Northern took over from First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern and operated a fleet of 79 class 142 Pacers, although there is a rolling programme of replacements which will reduce this number throughout 2020.

Alongside Northern’s new trains, the operator is also fully refurbishing the rest of its fleet which will see all Northern trains fitted with free Wi-Fi, at-seat charging, real-time customer information screens and significantly improved accessibility.

David Brown, Northern’s Managing Director said: “We are delighted to be delivering on our commitments of removing Pacers and introducing a brand-new fleet of 101 trains. Pacers have served the North well, but we know they are old and outdated and not popular with our customers.

“Those same customers can now clearly see Pacers are making way for modern state-of-the-art trains which will give them better journeys. 52 of our 102 Pacers have now been permanently retired and the remainder will all be gone next year.”

The Pacer joins several other recent additions to the collection such as the InterCity 125 power car No. 43002, Sir Kenneth Grange as programmes to replace ageing rolling stock continue. In 2020 it is expected that an electric Class 91 high speed electric power car will also be preserved.

The Pacer will remain in Northern livery on display at Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham. The long-term aim is to keep the vehicle operational to haul passenger rides at the museum’s rail line.