Hurrah - Harrogate's old Pacer train set for community use

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.

The imminent demise of Harrogate's much-maligned old Pacer trains may be welcome to many weary passengers but the town's MP wants to make sure they don't end up totally on the scrap heap.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andew Jones, who is also a rail minister in the Government, is launching a new competition for community groups with the best ideas to repurpose any discarded Pacer train carriages.

An old Pacer could be transformed into a community space, a café or even a new village hall after Rail Minister Andrew Jones announced that a call for ideas will be launched on how the Pacer could be renovated to continue to serve communities.

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After more than three decades of service, Pacers are being phased out alongside the introduction of a fleet of entirely new and refurbished trains across the northern network, delivering more modern and frequent services with extra seats for passengers in the north.

This summer, rail industry partners will launch a competition offering community groups the opportunity to put forward their plans to convert a Pacer into a new public space.

The Pacer will be donated by rolling stock company Porterbrook.

Rail Minister Andrew Jones said: " The Pacers have been the workhorses of the north’s rail network, connecting communities for more than 30 years, but it is clear that they have outstayed their welcome.

"That is why they are being phased out completely to make way for new or fully-refurbished trains, improving journeys and creating space for 40,000 more passengers

"Through this competition we can ensure that the Pacer can be transformed to serve a community near where it carried passengers in an entirely different way.

"What we need now are creative and exciting proposals from the public, alongside ideas from businesses keen to support this competition, as we say goodbye to Pacers on our railway."

More than 100 new trains will be rolled out by Northern and TransPennine Express from this year, offering more comfortable seats and improved accessibility.

It comes as part as part of a significant investment by both government, Network Rail and train operators as part of the Great North Rail Project to transform the national rail network, delivering more than 4,500 new carriages to UK passengers.

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