Angel Trains to offer Pacers to heritage railways and emergency services

Pacer gets scrapped
Credit: Angel Trains

Angel Trains has announced that it has plans to offer Class 142 pacer trains to heritage railways and the emergency services following their withdrawal from service with Northern.

The proceeds from sales to heritage railways and the emergency services will all go to charity.

The Class 142 Pacer DMUs were built between 1985 and 1987. Since then, they have been refurbished and upgraded to offer a low-cost solution to train operators and routes where otherwise they might not have a train service at all.

The Pacers are due off-lease from Northern imminently. Angel Trains has said that it recognises the need for modernisation of Britain’s railways and has said it does not have any plans to re-lease any Pacers to any other operators.

The leasing company has 83 x 2-car Class 142 Pacer units in operation and is offering a small number of vehicles to the below organisations

  • Emergency services – all proceeds will be donated to a charity of the organisation’s choice
  • Heritage Railways – all proceeds will be donated to Angel Trains’ charity of choice, Railway Children

Additionally, the National Railway Museum at York is to receive one Class 142, allowing future enthusiasts to look back on the importance of the Pacer.

All remaining trains that are not set aside for further use by emergency services, heritage railways or community railways will be scrapped.

What did the officials say?

Kevin Tribley, CEO at Angel Trains, said:

“The first Pacer trains coming off-lease from Northern marks the beginning of replacing the entire fleet and demonstrates commitment to improving customer service and experience. Although the Pacers have served the industry well for many years, their scrappage is a significant move towards an improved rail network across the region.

“As Northern’s partners, Angel Trains is committed to investing in, and creating, the railway of the future by delivering and enhancing assets that modern UK passengers deserve. Replacing the Pacers as they reach the end of their lifespan is a natural step towards this goal and we believe the discontinued trains could be of value to select organisations.”

Where Next?

News Homepage
   For the Latest Railway News
RailAdvent Online Shop
   Framed Prints, DVD’s / Blu-Ray’s and more
LocoStop Community
   Come and share your railway pictures
Mainline Steam Info
   Upcoming mainline steam tours/loco movements


  1. The should just give every Pacer to a heritage railway for using at off peak times. Some heritage raiwlays maty not want them now but they’ll prove to be a vaulable asset in the future!

  2. These were a stop gap solution to a very real need and yes they have worked long pasted they predicted working life and real was the lowest possible class of passenger train but they did managed to get there (usually) and kept many a branchline open.

    They was never intended to be a mainline solution as at just 60mph plus these rode so bad that they were real boneshakers, but yet you could see them doing jobs that they were never really designed for and even got onto the WCML/ECML.

    Am I sad to see they go, yes, they had a certain charm and smell about them, but I am not nostalgic enough or teary eyed to want to place them in the same place as steam trains, which I use to watch shunt coal wagons over the school wall in the 70’s (these were fireless steam engines, using high pressure steam from the power station they where at).

    You may well find the odd one appearing on the heritage line and that maybe there final swansong, as a few of these on a line such as the ELR (East Lancs heritage Railway) could offer a real train service from it’s Irwell Valley stations down to an end on interchange with the Manchester tram network, that if popular could even pay for itself.

  3. I do not think the Pacers fit in well with heritage railways when you think it is really a bus on rails.As for one going to the National Railway museum i think this must be very annoying for commuters who used them daily.Can hardly see it standing next to Sir Nigel Gresley or a Deltic.

  4. For everyone saying ‘no we don’t want these at heritage sites, they’re not like steam trains’, no, they’re not like steam trains, but there are young enthusiasts today that like them as a curiosity. If heritage sites only preserve what the older generation sees as valuable, they will die out when that older generation has gone.

  5. I enjoyed my trips to work on Northern Pacers from Cramlington to Newcastle along the ECML. Plenty fast enough, easy to get my bicycle on and off plus excellent visibility out of windows especially with original seating, unlike the dreadful ironing board seats with a view of a wall on other offerings like awful Voyagers.

  6. As one goes through the annuals of historical evolution of the railways in general, the Pacer types were part of the latter day BR design ethos for lesser lines. They have survived through to today, and shouldn’t be cast aside as a complete misnomer. They would surely be a valuable commodity to some, and as time progresses on heritage lines, the older 1950s DMU classes are going to be more challenging to keep running from the spares point of view and would make sense to conserve these more modern vehicles for continuity.

    Whilst they have been much maligned in more recent times, it would be a shame to miss out on something which has a novelty value. For the average visitor and their family for a run on a heritage line, they would surely be an asset and appeal to the next generation – just as the diesel powered machines of the 50s and early 60s did, that merge with the older generation who have an affinity with the steam.

    Buy now whilst stocks last. When they’re gone – they’re gone!

    However – like most heritage lines – the increasing challenge is finding the people to mend them. But that’s another story.

  7. The Heritage Railway Trusts are Charities themselves so it seems odd to sell them to a Charity in order to give money to… Charity. Why not give them free of charge to the Heritage Railways Trusts?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here