Pacers to stay on rails into next year
Outdated pacer trains will continue to run from Blackpool and across the north - despite promises the ‘temporary’ services would be taken off the rails by the end of the year.
Northern had planned to withdraw all of the 1980s-built rail buses by the end of 2019. But their use has continued, and Northern has now said the trains will still be used in on some routes, including Blackpool to Preston, in 2020.
Politicians have now called for reduced fares on the pacers until they are replaced.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Sheffield City region mayor Dan Jarvis and Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said the use of the old service ‘underlines the widening disparity between transport investment in the north, compared to the south’.
Mr Jarvis said the current arrangement was ‘another example of rail passengers in the North being treated like second-class citizens’.
He said: “It’s unacceptable that people will have to continue to travel on these relics, which should have been consigned to a transport museum long ago.
“A reduction in fares on affected routes, throughout the period that passengers have to travel on what are essentially buses on rails, is the very least that could be done.”
Ms Blake said: “The withdrawal of pacers was one of the centrepiece commitments made in the Northern franchise. The fact they will still be running in 2020 is symbolic of the broader issues with this franchise which continues to deliver an unacceptable level of service to passengers.”