Nodding Donkeys to Village Halls – Pacer Trains to have a new future?

A Pacer at Preston Station

I had a laugh when I read this BBC website article (see link above) about the coming end of the hugely unpopular ‘Pacer’ trains and that they could have a potential future use as village halls, cafes etc.

Of course the obvious question is why, as it’s often commented upon within railway circles about what bad condition many of these old diesel units are actually in. And why this class of old train? Many classes of old railway stock are being replaced at present due to them being life expired, for example Merseyrail (which gets a mention in the article) is replacing all it’s Class 507/508 rolling stock from 2020 – are they to be suggested for reuse as public buildings too?

I wonder if the former MP for Southport (John Pugh) would like an old Pacer for a garden shed as he (quite rightly) campaigned along with many others for Pacers to be taken out of service?:-) See link below from a 2014 posting of mine:-

Inside a down at heel Pacer

With thanks to Lydiate photographer Keith Page for the lead to this posting. Keith also links the future of these unloved trains to our lack of public toilets in communities up and down the land:-)

Pacers! Their history and why we got the damned things

The BBC magazine has the story on the BBC web site – see link above


I have covered the campaign to get rid of these trains a number of times previously on this blog site but this bit of history is interesting. One of my previous postings on the subject can be accessed via the link below:-

Nodding Donkeys in Southport – Well Class 142 Pacers anyway but don’t tell John Pugh MP.

This class of Pacer diesel train has been panned for years and they have acquired the derogatory nick name of ‘Nodding Donkeys’ because of their tendency to move up and down front to back.

John Pugh MP has long campaigned against them not least because they are regularly used on the Northern Rail services out of Southport to such places as Wigan, Manchester and Manchester Airport. Readers may recall that John featured in a TV programme about these disliked diesel units a couple of years ago.

John Pugh MP for Southport

But they are still in use, despite John and others campaigning for them to be replaced. Their future remains uncertain but to misquote a Trainline TV advert slogan the 142’s are ‘Brilliant for the scarp yard, rubbish for anything else’

This was the scene at Southport Station on Tuesday 16th September with 2 of the unloved 142’s sat awaiting their next turn of duty. A Merseyrail class 507 EMU is in the background in its startling new ‘Graffiti’ livery:-


Here is a close up of the Merseyrail EMU – put your sun glasses on!:-


The two photos above are amongst my Flickr shots at:-