Two of Northern's Pacer trains are going to this heritage railway to be preserved

A heritage railway has purchased two Pacer trains to prevent them from being scrapped.

A Pacer at Leeds Station
A Pacer at Leeds Station

Leasing company Angel Trains, which owns more than 100 of the Pacers used by Northern on their Yorkshire routes, has sold two of the 'second generation' Class 142 units to the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire, where they will be preserved.

The railway runs steam and vintage diesel locomotives on a stretch of the former Aldridge to Brownhills branch of the Midland Railway, and is open to the public most of the year, with trains running on weekends from April to November.

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The National Railway Museum's Pacer has arrived - ironically earlier than expectedThe majority of the 1980s-era Pacer fleet - which were introduced by British Rail as a low-cost, stopgap solution to operate smaller lines - are to be scrapped, but Angel have also offered them to heritage and community railways and the emergency services at the market rate.

However, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway have confirmed that they investigated acquiring a Pacer but decided not to proceed with buying one.

Pacers are currently being taken out of service after their original retirement date was deferred, although they will not vanish completely from the network until 2020. The diesel units are still needed to operate lines where electrification has been delayed.

What will happen to the Pacers?

- The majority of Northern's 102 Pacers, which are owned by Angel Trains, are to be scrapped and the metal recycled - it's likely to end up abroad. The specialists awarded the contract for dismantling the units are C F Booth in Rotherham, and pictures have already emerged of the redundant Pacers waiting in their sidings to be broken up.

This is the Rotherham scrap site where Northern trains end their lives- The first of the Class 142 generation to be manufactured, 142001, has already arrived at its new home - the National Railway Museum. Several years ago it was decided that a Pacer should be preserved for the national collection. Angel donated one to the NRM, and last week it arrived at their Locomotion site in Shildon, where it is currently being stored in the sidings. It will eventually run on a test track and give rides to visitors. It will go on display at the main site in York following redevelopment work at the attraction. The NRM will also consider loaning it to heritage lines, including the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

- The emergency services have been offered Pacers for use as training vehicles in anti-terrorism and firearms exercises, although it's not known whether any have been requested.

- Heritage railways are likely to show an interest in running Pacers on their lines - two are heading to Chasewater in Staffordshire and other units may go elsewhere.