Vintage Trains has confirmed to RailAdvent that it has acquired three Class 144 Pacer trains, ensuring that people can enjoy the Pacer experience on the mainline for years to come.
Thanks to Porterbrook, 3 three-car Class 144 trains have arrived at Tyseley to join the existing steam fleet.
Only ten 3-car Class 144s were built by BREL in Derby.
Vintage Trains’ sets include the first and last in the three-car series, these being 144014, 144023 and 144019.
The 144s operated with Northern across West Yorkshire, loathed and loved by enthusiasts, Pacer trains offer an easy to maintain platform and will help expand Vintage Trains’ operations.
144014, 144023 and 144019 are all in very good condition after being withdrawn from service with Northern early due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Whitehouse, Chairman of Vintage Trains, said: ‘Vintage Trains’ core operation is currently a mix of long distance charters and The Shakespeare Express summer programme, the majority pulled by express steam locomotives and all offering fine dining options, but the market is evolving. Enthusiasts will undoubtedly crave a ride on the mainline in a Pacer, particularly on new routes for the class, but our sets will primarily be used to expand Vintage Trains into the ‘experience’ sector, targeting new audiences and building on the success of The Polar Express’.
He added: ‘Individuals and families, particularly those with young children, are looking for ‘day out with a difference’ experiences – entertainment on a train. The success of The Polar Express on the mainline over the last two years has shown that a theatrical performance on a train is much in demand with other productions already in the planning stage for the future. The Pacer is ideally suited to such activity at an affordable price’.
The West Midlands is unfamiliar territory for the Class 144s, so initial route clearance is being requested for the Worcester, Birmingham Snow Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon route.
Future details will be announced by Vintage Trains and a potential programme of events will be announced soon.
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