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Recent reports have confirmed that both Class 142 and 144 Pacer trains will continue in service until the next timetable change in May at the least. The plans are that they’ll be confined to Lancashire and Yorkshire with the Class 142s operating West services around Manchester whilst the Neville Hill based Class 144s will operate set routes around Leeds/Sheffield/Doncaster/Huddersfield and York.

The Class 142 fleet will be reduced to just 22 members from an original fleet of 94 whilst all 23 Class 144s will be retained. the DfT derogation letter confirms that the following Class 142s will be allowed to run but will gradually be phased out by the arrival of new CAF built units.

142004/011/013/018/023/035/036/041/043/045/047/051/055/058/061/065/068/070/071/078/087/090/094/095 = 24.

The oldest of the Pacers that will remain in service is 142004, which will still be seen here – Manchester Victoria. This view’s from the 22nd June 2009.

The Class 142 derogation expires at 23:59 on 31 May 2020.

A separate DfT document that confirms the dispensation allowing the Class 144s to be kept in service also specifies which routes they will be allowed to run on. These are.

• Leeds to Huddersfield

• Leeds to Sheffield

• Leeds to Knottingley

• Sheffield to Adwick

• Sheffield to Huddersfield via Penistone

• Sheffield to Gainsborough Central / Lincoln

• Huddersfield to Bradford Interchange via Halifax

• Huddersfield to Castleford via Wakefield

• Doncaster to Scunthorpe

• Sheffield to York via Rotherham and Moorthorpe

• York to Leeds via Micklefield

• York to Selby / Hull / Bridlington

• Bradford Interchange to Leeds

• Doncaster to Leeds

The permission granted by this dispensation to Arriva Rail North expires at 23:59 on 31 August 2020 but don’t assume that they’ll last until then.

The youngest of the Pacer fleet, 144023 seen en-route to Leeds at Sheffield on the 16th September 2016. The city may be having their company until August.

This means Pacer fans (and yes, they do exist!) have a few more months to search out and ride/photograph these gradually dwindling fleets of trains before the last one heads off to the scrapyard. Make the most of the reprieve as it all depends on how quickly the last of the new CAF built trains enter service! If I get details of specific routes that the Class 142s will be operating on around Manchester I’ll update this blog with details. Right now I’d expect that they’ll be seen around Victoria on services to Stalybridge and Rochdale plus at Piccadilly on trains to New Mills and Rose Hill.

If you want to see a pictorial history of the BR built Pacer fleets over the years, have a look at my earlier blog.