Rail delays mean no end for Pacers

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UNLOVED PACER trains could still be rattling along Yorkshire lines in five years, the shadow transport secretary has admitted.

Mary Creagh has said she cannot set a target for the removal of the outdated diesel trains, even if Labour wins the next general Election.

The Wakefield MP said it was “a personal ambition”to get rid of the carriages but warned that repeated Government failures to plan for the railways meant “the system is in a mess”.

Ms Creagh said the wider impact of a new delay to electrification of routes across the North would inevitably have a knock on effect on when new rolling stock was available.

“Electrification is in a certain amount of trouble. There are delays, and the time tabling for improvements that should happen as a result of the electrification are now potentially will not be met at the timetable set. It was 2013/14.

“Then 2015, and now it is pushed back further, it is an ever receding horizon.”

Ms Creagh was unable to say when, under a Labour Government electrification on routes such as the Leeds - Harrogate - York line would happen, as a result of what she called a lack of strategy from the Government.

On Pacer trains, Ms Creagh indicated there would be no quick wins.

“At least they exist; any new train takes six to seven years from planning to delivery, and the problem is we have lost some of that planning time because franchise arrangements have been put back.

“We have to wait and see what happens with electrification in other places, say on the Great Western line, and where those trains then move on to afterwards.”