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Pacer train heading to Keighley and Worth Valley railway

Pacer train heading to Keighley and Worth Valley railway

Published by Harry Long at 12:02pm 26th February 2020.

Main image: Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

A Pacer train will be joining the Keighley and Worth Valley railway later this year.  

  • A Pacer train will be joining the Keighley and Worth Valley railway from May. 
  • The trains are being retired by Northern after more than 30 years in service. 
  • They were once a common sight between Leeds and Harrogate, Ilkley and Skipton.  

The train is moving to the heritage line once it is withdrawn from service with Northern, which is expected to be at the end of May. 

It will be transferred to the railway from Porterbrook Leasing Company, who are its current owners. It will move to Haworth following its retirement.  

The Pacers began to be withdrawn from service last August after 32 years, and were once a common sight on the  Harrogate Line and the Airedale Line, which connects Leeds, Bradford and Skipton.

The last Pacers are expected to be withdrawn from the national rail network by the summer.  

Skipton - Northern
New trains are replacing Northern's fleet of Pacers

Matt Stroh, chairman of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society said:

"Offering a Pacer a home on a West Yorkshire heritage railway is very fitting, because these units have been the mainstay of operation in the area for over three decades. We are very grateful to Porterbrook Leasing for giving us this opportunity."

Tim Moody, from the KWVR, said:

“We believe that the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is an ideal home for a Class 144 (Pacer). We appreciate that our wide variety of steam locomotives hauling period carriages will continue to be the main attraction for many visitors, but we also recognise that preservation and history does not standstill or stop at a set point in time. What is considered modern and maybe unloved today is tomorrow’s history and heritage.”

Rupert Brennan Brown, Porterbrook’s Head of Communications and Engagement, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support the KWVR by donating a Class 144 Pacer to their operational fleet. These trains were in many ways the saviour of the social railway, so it is fitting that one of these multiple units will continue to serve Keighley, as well as communities along the Worth Valley and visitors to its world famous railway.”

The Pacers, essentially a bus on rails, entered service in the 1980s and were designed as a low-cost solution to older trains, which dated from the 1950s. They were not popular with passengers and were originally only intended as a stopgap, but instead became the mainstay of many routes in the North.

An old Pacer carriage is also being donated to Airedale General Hospital.