Penistone Line allowed to keep Pacer trains into 2020 January 1, 2020

A Pacer train at Denby Dale stationBuilt in Britain in the 1980s from the body parts of buses, Pacer trains should have at last been retired by the end of 2019, particularly as they do not meet disability regulations which have been around for years.

Instead the Government has given a dispensation for them to carry on running until the end of August 2020 as operator Northern still awaits delayed delivery of around half of a fleet of 101 new trains from Spanish train-builder CAF.

The newest of the Pacer trains, dating from around 1987, will be allowed to operate on particular routes in Yorkshire, among them the Penistone Line linking Huddersfield with its surrounding villages, Penistone, Barnsley, Meadowhall and Sheffield.

A Pacer train at Berry Brow station on New Year's DayThe four-wheels-per-coach vehicles are well known for slippery starts on the line after autumn leaf-fall leading to there being a special autumn timetable each year with even slower journeys than the usual 1 hour 16 minutes it takes from Huddersfield to Sheffield, some 23 miles away as the crow flies. Indeed a crow could fly it considerably faster!

A Sprinter train built in York in 1987Even when Northern gets all its brand-new trains, they will not be directly replacing Pacer services as other equally old trains have been moved North to join the existing fleet, given a new coat of paint and are being cascaded down on to the Pacer lines. These include Sprinter units which were being built in York between 1984 and 1987, the same time the Pacers were being built in Derby.

As rail passengers saw an average 2.7% increase in fares as they returned to work this Thursday (January 2), the Government's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps promised a year of change and transformation, criticising as unacceptable the standard of service of Northern and also, over the recent holiday period, TransPennine services.

TransPennine Express has also not yet introduced all its new trains leading to an amended timetable of cancellations until January 5, which has also been added to with much-criticised additional train cancellations since the new timetable was introduced in mid-December.

More about rail travel in the Huddersfield area on our Rail travel page.

Also in

 New    Places to visit    Villages - a website. Made in Yorkshire UK   |  Terms of use  |  Privacy policy  with  No cookies  |  Contact  |