Could you make good use of an old Pacer train: MP backs rail transformation competition

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is encouraging community groups to enter a competition to win an old train carriages to transform for their use.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 12:01 pm
A Northern service at Hartlepool station. Picture by Frank Reid.

Community groups in the North can submit their plans and ideas on how an old Pacer carriage could be converted into a vibrant public asset in a competition run by the Department for Transport (DfT).

It comes as Northern introduces a fleet of new trains in a £500 million investment which will see old Pacer trains replaced.

The first nine trains have already begun operating on routes between Doncaster and Leeds, Cumbria and Manchester Airport, and Liverpool and Manchester Airport.

The rest of the 101-strong fleet will be subsequently rolled out in what Northern has called the biggest upgrade of local rail services for a generation.

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Ideas for what the old trains could be turned into include a museum and classroom, greenhouse, and kitchen and pizza stand.

Mr Hill, who previously called Pacers ‘leaky and worn out’, said: “It really is good to see the back of the old Pacers as rolling stock on our railways, but this truly is an imaginative way of ensuring they get a new lease of life as unique and interesting spaces for community use; they certainly would stand out in the landscape.

“I have already had one expression of interest and would urge any interested parties to visit the website and submit their ideas.”

The new trains feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and customer information/media screens with real-time information.

They are also more spacious for customers and are fully accessible with spaces for wheelchairs and bicycles.

Rail Minister Andrew Jones MP said: “Together with new fleets on Northern, TransPennine Express and the Azumas on the East Coast, we are one step closer to saying goodbye to outdated trains and the start of a more modern rail network fit for people across the north.

“Replacing our services with a modern fleet is not just great news for rail services, but provides an exciting opportunity for community groups across the north.”

The train transformation competition runs until the end of September.

For more details visit www.gov.uk/dft or email communityrailcompetition@dft.gov.uk with any questions.