Northern retires first Pacer train

Date published: 14 August 2019

The first Northern Pacer train was retired on Monday (12 August 2019) after making its final journey between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.

The train – unit 142005 - entered service on 20 February 1987 and bowed out earlier this week after 32 years of service. The Pacer had clocked up more than three million miles of customer journeys.

Northern is introducing 101 brand new trains as part of a £500m investment in improving customers’ experience - 15 new trains are already in service across Northern rail.

An additional £80m investment is also being made to refurbish and improve the quality of Northern’s remaining fleet.

This near £600m investment in rail in the North sees Pacers being replaced by new and refurbished trains. The new trains are being introduced on longer-distance routes, allowing existing trains on those routes to be redeployed and replace the retiring Pacers.


Pacer 142005 ready for its retirement
Pacer 142005 ready for its retirement


Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “I am delighted to see the start of the Pacer trains retiring from the Northern network. This is a milestone moment for passengers in the north, as part of our commitment to delivering more comfortable, frequent and reliable journeys.

“We are now starting to see brand new, comfortable, modern trains in their place, alongside the 2,000 extra services a week that have already been delivered.”

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said: “The Northern network is busier than it has been for a generation – more than 100 million customer journeys will be made on Northern services in 2019 – and the introduction of new trains and the retirement of the Pacers is at the heart of our transformation for customers.

“We have 15 brand new trains carrying customers, with 91 more to come throughout 2019 and into 2020. These fantastic new trains will give our customers a genuine step-change in journey experience.”

David Sidebottom, Director at Transport Focus, helped bid farewell to the retiring Pacer as it departed Manchester Victoria on its last day of service. He said: "Passengers won’t be sorry to see these outdated and uncomfortable trains depart for retirement.

"Pacers have become a potent symbol for the need to invest in better transport infrastructure across the North. Their replacements cannot arrive too soon, though it’s now equally important that the railway improves punctuality and reliability of services, so passengers see every possible benefit from each new train.”

The retirement of Pacers and the introduction of new trains is part of Northern’s wider plan to improve and modernise the railway. This programme includes the full refurbishment of Northern’s existing trains, improvements at stations, more ways to buy tickets and great new offers for Northern customers.

In partnership with the Department for Transport and leasing company Porterbrook, three Pacer carriages will be donated in 2020 and transformed into community assets. Applications are currently being sought via a competition seeking innovative and society focused projects. Interested parties, such as community groups, charities and schools can find out more and apply at:

In addition to the Pacer that retired this week, a further six are being taken out of daily service and will be stored at one of Northern’s depots. They will be maintained, so they could be made available to use if required in exceptional circumstances, such as for special events.

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