The National Railway Museum is putting a Pacer on display - and visitors may be able to take rides on it

A Pacer train will become a museum piece following the Northern fleet's retirement from service this winter.

Leasing company Angel Trains confirmed they have donated a Pacer to the National Railway Museum in York, where it will go on public display.

Museum bosses are even considering keeping the Pacer operational and running it on the on-site test track, where visitors would be able to enjoy rides on the British Rail relic.

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This is the Pacer 'graveyard' in Rotherham where the rail relics will end their livesThe Pacer, a Class 142 unit numbered 142001, is the first of the second generation of Pacers to have been produced and has a classic interior with bus-style seats. It will retain its Northern livery.

A dated Pacer interior with bus-style seating

It is expected to arrive at the NRM in the new year, and may also spend some time on display at partner site Locomotion in County Durham.

The Pacer will join a collection that includes illustrious icons of rail such as the Mallard and Stephenson's Rocket.

The National Railway Museum's communications manager Simon Baylis said:-

"We're very excited to get one. They tell a really interesting story. We have recently had an Intercity 125 High Speed Train from the same period on display, a record-breaking locomotive. The Pacers are much less glamorous and they are a more everyday side of the railway, but they were just as important. There is a certain fondness for them.

A Pacer at Leeds Station

"We have plans to keep it operational and run it for rides within the site. They're quite versatile and will be useful for heritage lines too - the North Yorkshire Moors Railway might like one.

"We'll keep it in the Northern livery and probably hold an unveiling event in 2020."

Angel, who leased over 100 Pacer units to Northern before the franchise operator's decision to scrap them this year, is also offering to sell the 1980s-era diesel trains to heritage railways, emergency services and community groups. Proceeds will be donated to charity.

Eighty-three of the Pacers are two-car 'second generation' Class 142s - which were derided by passengers for their dated fittings, noisy running and lack of reliability. They were built between 1985-7 and have exceeded their predicted operational life.

Community railways will also be able to apply for Pacers at the market price. The emergency services have expressed interest in using them as training vehicles in anti-terrorism and firearms exercises.

Yorkshire bus boss says comparing Pacers to buses is an insult to busesAll other Pacers will be scrapped and not re-leased to other operators.

Several units have already arrived at the C F Booth scrap metal recycling plant in Rotherham, where they will be dismantled.

Angel Trains CEO Kevin Tribley said:-

“The first Pacer trains coming off-lease from Northern marks the beginning of replacing the entire fleet and demonstrates commitment to improving customer service and experience. Although the Pacers have served the industry well for many years, their scrapping is a significant move towards an improved rail network across the region.

“Replacing the Pacers as they reach the end of their lifespan is a natural step and we believe the discontinued trains could be of value to select organisations.”

Any emergency service, heritage railway or community railway organisation interested in receiving a Pacer train should send a request to [email protected]

'Pacergate' has been a long-running controversy and the failure to scrap the trains - which were intended as a stopgap solution when first introduced - when promised was seen as a symbol for poor investment in transport across the north of England.

Northern lease 102 Pacers from Angel Trains, and the first one was removed from service in August, with three more following this month. Their retirement has been delayed due to ongoing problems with electrification of the network and the manufacture of new rolling stock. They are to be sent to a storage depot in Worksop before being taken for decommissioning.

Northern have promised they will disappear from Yorkshire routes by 2020.

The trains - known for their rattling motion, cold, dated interiors and noisy engines - were created by attaching bus bodies to rail bogies, and the passenger experience is frequently likened to being on board a bus.