The end of the line for Pacer trains?

tis. Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.
tis. Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.

Commuters across Harrogate can rejoice at the news that outdated Pacer trains could soon be a thing of the past.

Bidders for the new Northern franchise have been told by The Department for Transport that they must make plans to replace outdated Pacer trains and introduce a brand new fleet of modern trains.

According to the documents inviting companies to bid, the winning bidder of the northern franchise - which covers the York-Harrogate-Leeds line - will be expected to order at least 120 new-build carriages and double the number of services on many routes.

Pacers, which were built in the 1980s, were only intended for short-term use but have now been rattling along the lines for 30 years.

The franchise holder will also be expected to tackle crowding and invest at least £30 million in stations and introduce free wi-fi on all trains by 2020.

Companies shortlisted to run the new franchises were announced in August 2014, with Arriva, Govia and Northern, competing for the Northern franchise.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “This is an historic moment for the north. Improving rail links in the region has been much anticipated. These old trains have been rattling across rails in the north for over 30 years; a constant source of complaint which have held the region back.

“Today’s plans include a new fleet of trains and improved services that will better connect our great northern towns and cities. Modernising rail in the north will encourage business, boost tourism and give commuters the journey they deserve; one that is fit for a 21st century metropolis.”

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