Further dispensation for Pacers to continue operating with Northern has been approved by the Department for Transport.
In separate letters signed by DfT Managing Director of Passenger Services Peter Wilkinson on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, and dated May 26, permission to retain 13 Class 142s and 20 Class 144s was confirmed.
Because they failed to meet accessibility regulations that came into force from January 1, the Pacers had already received dispensation to operate beyond that date - to May 31 for 24 two-car Class 142s and to August 31 for 13 two-car Class 144s. With the first of those dates now past, the additional dispensation is required.
They were needed to cover for the late delivery of Class 769 FLEX bi-modes and CAF’s £500 million multiple unit fleet.
Northern Managing Director Nick Donovan told Transport for the North’s rail committee on May 12 that the operator had no Pacers in passenger service, save for one used on a staff train in place of taxis (RAIL 906).
He said that Northern would retain Class 142 and Class 144 units in working order but stored as a contingency fleet. He hoped not to use them.
Under the latest dispensation, Northern can only use ‘142s’ if coupled with an accessible diesel multiple unit, unless operating services between Southport-Alderley Edge, or Southport-Stalybridge.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 907, published on June 17, and available digitally from June 13.