Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Pacers

Of all the passenger trains on the network, these Class 142 DMUs are probably the least loved! Here 142091 and 142017 sit in Darlington station.

And here, in the background, is a third set pulling out of the station heading for Saltburn. 'Pacers' are diesel multiple units which date from the early 1980s, see here. Successors to Class 140s and 141s, Class 142s were built by Leyland and British Rail Engineering in 1985. The body was based on a Leyland National bus, as here. The class has a capacity of 120 passengers per two-car set.

The Pacers were built inexpensively and running costs were to be low. They feature a modified bus body, and other bus components such as the seating. Each carriage has four wheels on a fixed wheelbase, rather than the more usual eight wheels on bogies.

Most of the Pacers still in use are in service with Northern, that franchise, a division of Arriva, beginning in April this year. The company has made a commitment to replace the Pacers by 2019, see here.

The Bishop Line, which runs between Darlington and Bishop Auckland, is important to Britain's railway heritage, see here, as it formed part of the original Stockton and Darlington Railway. The Stockton to Darlington railway opened on September 27, 1825.

I have been a passenger on the line on a number of occasions, and recently experienced the Pacers again on my way to Shildon. Here Pacer set 142086 arrives at Shildon.

The wooden ladder comprises part of the onboard safety equipment, and really illustrates just how old these vehicles are!

Shildon is of course home to part of the National Railway Museum, see here. I'm rather fond of the place! Here I am getting up close to the wheels of LMS Stanier Class 5, no 5000, built at Crewe in 1935.

I wonder if some of the Pacers will be preserved and run on heritage lines in the future. Or perhaps displayed alongside the locomotives at Shildon!

Pics © Skip Cottage

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