Several pacer trains still operate in and around Huddersfield Railway Station
By Greg Dawson
Politicians are demanding that Northern Rail should offer reduced fares to passengers who are still having to use pacer trains.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis have told Northern Rail that use of pacer trains is unacceptable.
Pacer trains were originally built as a short term rail-buses alternative to train in the 80s, originally constructed from the body of a bus frame.
Northern Rail had planned to withdraw all the pacer trains by the end of this year; their lifespan only intended to be 20 years maximum which has been exceeded after almost 40 years of use.
In a letter to Northern Rail, Mr Jarvis, Mr Burnham and Ms Blake said it’s unacceptable for the pacers to be running in 2020.
“However, the alternative of withdrawing the Pacers without any alternative replacements would be an even worse outcome,” they said.
“As we are forced into accepting the temporary retention of Pacers, we expect you to commit, as a matter of urgency, to appropriate financial compensation to the passengers affected.”
They said fares should be reduced on all affected routes while the trains were being used.
Passengers “deserve a reliable, daily rail service”, they added.
Further in the letter, politicians said pacer trains showed the “widening disparity between transport investment” in northern England compared to that in the south.
According to The Yorkshire Post: “over the last five years transport spending has risen by twice as much per person in London as in the North – and the results are clear to see.”
Previously Northern had said they were “working hard’ to scarp all the Pacers by the end of the year and pledged to replace they with a fleet of new trains costing £500m.