Airedale Hospital in Keighley among 17 organisations in the running to get a Pacer train

Northern pacer
Credit: RMT

Airedale Hospital, in Keighley, has been announced as one of the 17 organisations in the running for a Pacer as the Government-run Transform a Pacer competition comes to a close.

The winners will be chosen based on the benefits they can bring to the wider community.

The competition is part of the long-awaited withdrawal of Pacer trains after over thirty years of service.

The winners will be decided following the judging panel:

  • Pete Waterman
  • Tim Dunn
  • Mary Grant
  • Jools Townsend

The entrants in the running for a Pacer are:

  • Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Keighley – Convert the carriage into a mixed-use, non-clinical space to improve the patient experience.
  • Appleby Heritage Centre – Convert the Pacer into a Holiday let space.
  • Baines Endowed Primary School, Fleetwood – Pacer converted into outdoor learning space.
  • Castleford Heritage Trust – turn a Pacer into an entrepreneur hub
  • Fagley Primary School, Bradford – Turn the Pacer into a science lab to promote STEM learning.
  • Kirk Merrington Primary School, Spennymoor – Use the Pacer as a library.
  • Medomsley Community Group – Make the carriage into a community centre for visitor information
  • Neston Community Centre – Turn the carriage into a cafe on a walking route
  • Pinders Primary J&I School, Wakefield – Set up an alternative learning and open it up to evening adult learning classes.
  • Platform 1 (Mental Health Charity), Huddersfield – Turn the pacer into a kitchen to teach cooking skills.
  • Private Individual, Annan – Continue using the Pacers but updating to ensure they meet regulations
  • Rainford Heritage Society, St Helens – Convert a Pacer into a heritage centre
  • South Tyneside Council – Use the Pacer as a Youth Club
  • St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, Liverpool – Convert into a library
  • Two Rivers Radio, York – Convert the Pacer into a broadcast studio
  • Wingfield Academy School, Rotherham – Use the pacer for additional learning for students with additional needs.
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – Convert into community engagement space

What did the officials say?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“The winners of this competition will give a handful of Pacers a future serving local communities in a new and exciting way.”

 “The Pacers have served communities in the North for three decades. But in that time they have divided opinions and they have become a symbol of underinvestment in the North.

“As we level up the economy in the North we are we are phasing Pacers out completely, with the last trains off the network this year. Their modern replacements will improve journeys and create space for 40,000 more passengers.”

Porterbrook CEO, Mary Grant, said:

 “The judging team and I have been really impressed by the quantity and quality of submissions from community groups looking to repurpose these Pacer vehicles.

“It is absolutely fitting that they will soon have a new role in the communities they once served and Porterbrook looks forward to working with the competition winners to turn their visions into reality.”

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  1. Why don’t they just give a Pacer to each of these orgaisations? The winnier could be awared the funding and transport costs. THe rest might as well get a PAcer as they’ll only go for scrap.

  2. Just give everybody who wants one a train unit as long as they have space for it, likewise offer the rest to preserved railways as either running stock or for non-running use like conversion to sleeping train for volunteers, offices , storage etc. Just scrapping em won’t bring any real benefits.


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