News: Ageing Pacer trains to be axed in Yorkshire, says PM

Promises about Pacers: The PM said – “In terms of Northern Rail I understand the concerns about the franchise. We all want to see Pacers go, and bidders for the Northern franchise will be required to propose plans for the removal of Pacers when they submit their bids in 2015. Those trains are going, there will be a progressive upgrade of trains right across the system.” This week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the clunky diesel Pacer trains, which consist of a bus body mounted on a freight wagon chassis, would be unacceptable in the South, and promised to back efforts to phase them out.”

“But there was a warning from the PM yesterday that such improvements will come at a cost “everyone has to share.” Mr Cameron said: “Northern Rail is the most heavily subsidised train company and you have to get a fair balance for these improvements. Every one has to play their part.” Yorkshire Post  7th November 2015

The previous day the DPM Nick Clegg had been more adamant: “Decrepit trains such as the Pacers, which are literally ancient buses on rails, are not a fair way for people in the North to get to and from work. They would not be deemed acceptable on London commuter lines, and they are not acceptable in the North.” Yorkshire Post  6th November 2015

So what does this actually amount to? I’m not sure I share quite the optimism of Campaign for Better Transport, whose response to this statement was ‘Success! PM confirms the end of Pacer trains’ since the ‘when?’ and ‘at what cost?’ questions have not been answered. CBT go on to say: “The next task is to ensure that the financial burden of funding these much needed new trains is not shouldered by already hard pressed rail users, but rather by a long term plan of investment that will create passenger growth.”