MP warns Teesside ‘pacer’ trains could be replaced with ageing London Underground trains

A Teesside MP has warned that the Government’s Transport Ministry may look to replace Northern Rail’s Pacer trains with equally ageing former London Underground trains.

Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, has joined in calls for improvements on routes served by the trains, which go no faster than 60mph on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express routes.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has called for a firm commitment from the Government on replacing the “outdated, uncomfortable and cramped” trains after Chancellor George Osborne said the re-franchising of the East Coast mainline next year would include “a substantial package of upgrades including new services and modern trains”.

Now Mr Blenkinsop, who uses the trains which operate from Middlesbrough and Darlington to Nunthorpe and Saltburn, said:

“The influential railway industry source, the Rail Business Intelligence Bulletin has become aware of a proposal to convert London Underground District Line D78 units – that were already 30-years-old and being decommissioned by London Underground – into diesel engine carriage sets for use on North of England commuter lines like the ones in my constituency.”

Mr Blenkinsop said the only winner if a deal was brokered would be London Mayor Boris Johnson “who will get a Christmas present of some cash for trains he was going to scrap anyway”.

He continued:

“This worries me as a local rail service user, we don’t want to see veteran trains replaced by equally ageing old London Underground trains which will be nothing more than vintage carriages with a diesel engine bolted on to them.

“I have a simple message to coalition transport ministers – just get rid of the Pacers.

“They are an embarrassment to our rail system and the regular commuters who have to be sardined in them on a daily basis.

“Give people on Teesside the longer trains and comfortable carriages enjoyed in the south. Only then will you see passenger numbers really increase on local routes instead of today’s steady decay.”

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  16 Dec 2014

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