By Joshua Robinson –
Residents of Keighley have celebrated the transformation of one of Northern’s former pacer carriages.
Airedale Hospital & Community Charity won the retired pacer carriage in the ‘Transform a Pacer’ competition run by the Department for Transport in 2019 – and it is now set to be a non-clinical space for youngsters on the children’s ward and for those visiting paediatric outpatients.
Northern sponsored the pacer’s transformation through their customer and community innovation fund, which delivers projects that benefit the areas it serves across the north of England.
Renamed the ‘Flying Dalesman‘, the train now has creative spaces, sensory zones, areas for reading and learning, an indoor tree, as well as a garden courtyard.
The driver’s cab has been also been restored, so both parents and children can enjoy sitting in the front of the train.
Pacer trains, which were built between 1980 and 1987, were designed with similarities to a Leyland National bus.
Tony Baxter, regional director at Northern said: “This is a really unique communal space that will no doubt support the wellbeing of many people in the coming years.”
“Our pacers gave many decades’ service and now that they’ve been replaced on our network by brand new trains, it’s great to see one of those old carriages being given a new lease of life.”
The project was a community effort with local company, Ultimate (Commercial Interiors) Ltd, who along with its partners and suppliers, refurbished the train carriage.
The last pacer retired from the Northern network in 2020 and the train operator has introduced 101 brand new trains.
The new trains feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power, and customer information/media screens with real-time information. They are also more spacious and fully accessible, with spaces for wheelchairs and cycles.
Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.