The last Northern Pacer!

A Pacer at Preston Station

The 27th November saw Northern’s very last Pacer in service. It left Kirkby Station on Merseyside heading for Wigan following a small ceremony which had been kept quiet due to Covid restrictions. Here’s a video of the final departure from You Tube by Kieran’s Transport Diaries:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AbmiSDLz14

I’ve blogged about these unloved diesel units many times particularly with regard to the campaigns to get rid of them. Here’s a post of mine from February 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/02/07/pacers-are-thankfully-on-their-last-legs-or-is-that-wheels/

I for one will not be sorry to see the back of them. Buses on railway wheels, sometimes called ‘Nodding Donkeys’, they were shockingly uncomfortable to ride on.

A Preston bound ‘Nodding Donkey’ at Ormskirk Station.

Kirkby – Wigan – Manchester Trains

End of the line from Wigan, the Merseyrail service to Liverpool is accessed under the bridge.

A curiosity and I imagine a real frustration for users of this line from the May 19th timetable changes by Northern is this:-

A double-headed (2 loco) train departs Knowsley Freight Terminal on its way to Wilton Power Station.

So it seems, according to Northern that is, that the troubled timekeeping on the Kirkby – Wigan – Manchester line is due to the freight trains to and from Knowsley Freight Terminal causing delays. The freight trains, usually 4 movements per day (2 in – 2 out), take Merseyside’s non-recyclable waste to Wilton Power Station in the north east for burning to create electricity. I’ve posted about these freight trains previously – here’s a link to that previous posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/09/08/what-happens-to-merseysides-rubbish-that-cant-be-recycled/

The question is, of course, what is going to happen between now and the December 2019 timetable changes to fix the delays allegedly being caused by the freight trains on this line? Also, when I’ve checked, the freight trains seem to be running pretty much to their timetable. What’s more they’ve been running for some years now and will continue well into the future.

There’s more to this story than meets the eye me thinks and it means 7 months of passengers having to change trains at Wigan Wallgate Station outside of peak times.