Leeds' loathed pacer trains could be turned into village halls and cafés

They are universal source of hatred among thousands of commuters in Leeds.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 9:50 am
Dreaded pacer trains are finally being rolled out of service and could be transformed into cafs and even village halls

But Northern's rickety pacer trains are finally set to make their final journeys - albeit at a very slow speed and a 35-minute delay.

The ancient carriages, some of which date back to the 1980s, are to be rolled out of service by the end of 2019 according to the Government.

Now the Department for Transport has unveiled exciting plans for the defunct carriages to ensure they don't end up on the scrapheap.

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The sight of the inside of a Northern pacer train is almost unrecognisable without its seats and aisles overcrowded with commuters.

Old pacer carriages could be transformed into community spaces, cafés or even village halls in new calls for them to be integrated back into the community as their final resting place.

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He told how a competition will be launched over the summer asking members of the public their suggestions on what the three-decade-old carriages should be used for.

Harrogate MP Mr Jones said: "That is why they are being phased out completely to make way for new or fully-refurbished trains, improving journeys and creating space for 40,000 more passengers.

"Through this competition we can ensure that the Pacer can be transformed to serve a community near where it carried passengers in an entirely different way. What we need now are creative and exciting proposals from the public."

He added: “The trains can’t have much value, although there’s always scrap value in metal. But if there’s a way of prolonging their service to the community, then I think we should be encouraging it.”

One driver, when told of the plans, asked: “What’s second prize? Two of them?”

Some previous Yorkshire Pacers were sold to Iran at the end of their regular life, but the authorities there phased them out nearly 15 years ago.

More than 100 new trains will be rolled out by Northern and TransPennine Express from this year, offering more comfortable seats and improved accessibility.

Managing Director of Arriva Rail North, David Brown, said:

Northern is introducing 101 new trains worth £500 million, the first of these new trains will be carrying customers this summer, and at the same time we will start to retire the Pacer trains. Using a Pacer as a valued community space is a very fitting way to commemorate the service they have provided since they entered service a generation ago."