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Today, one of the old British Rail built ‘Pacer’ trains that were retired last year was donated to and installed at its new home this morning.

Vehicle 55808 from Class 144 No 144008 was built in Derby in 1986 and spent its entire working life based at Neville Hill depot in Leeds. During its career, the carriage had covered 3,227,769 miles in passenger service.

Its final resting place is at Fagley Primary School in Bradford (a town where these trains were regular visitors). The train’s to be used as a science lab for students to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. Fagley won the Pacer carriage in the Department for Transport (DfT) sponsored ‘Transform a Pacer’ competition, being selected for their creativity and their potential to engage with and serve the local community.

Fagley Primary School is the first of three winners of the DfT ‘Transform a Pacer’ competition to receive their carriage. The other winners are Airedale NHS Trust and Platform 1 – a Huddersfield mental health charity. They will receive their carriages in coming months.

144008 at Huddersfield in April 2017 when in service with Northern Trains. The lead vehicle of the 2-car unit is the one which arrived at Fragley school today.

Owned by Porterbrook Leasing who have generously donated the car – and paid for it to be moved to the school. The vehicle had been in store at the Harry Needle Railroad Company site at Worksop where HNRC staff donated their services to strip the vehicle of several tonnes of weight in the form of engine and drive shaft, fuel tank, coupler and assorted pipework. The train was moved to its new home on a low-loader by Reid Freight Heavy Haulage. Needless to say, maneuvering a train car through the streets of Bradford and installing it in position at a school isn’t the simplest of tasks but it was handled with aplomb by the experts from Reid who carry out jobs like this all the time.

Waiting to greet the new arrival were staff and pupils from the school, along with staff from Porterbrook who supervised the formal handover. Here’s a selection of pictures from the event.

Train ahoy! The low-loader carrying the Pacer is slowly reversed down the residential street that leads to the school.
What could have been a ‘Suez canal moment’ in the narrow street outside the school was averted due to the expertise of the team from Reid. The trailers rear wheels are steerable which makes these operations much simpler.
Once the low-loader was in the right place the cab unit was detached and the trailer lowered. The next stop was for Reid staff to construct a rail ramp to allow the Pacer to be lowered by winch – and gravity.
When ready, the Pacer was slowly run off the trailer with its descent controlled by the winch on the back of the cab unit via a pulley wheel attached to the low-loader.
A cunning plan…As the vehicle needed to be turned nearly 90 degrees to fit on the concrete plinth built for it Reid staff laid steel plates, then greased them with washing up liquid. The Pacer’s front wheels were then placed on two of these circular plates which could be slid across the plates thanks to the washing up liquid!
Almost there! The low-loader and rails have been removed to allow a lorry equipped with a HIAB crane to come in and swing the cab end of the Pacer around to the right so that it fits on the plinth where it will rest on sleepers and rails donated by Network Rail.
It’s thumbs up for their new Science classroom from teachers at Fradley school.

So, it’s one down, two more to go – and one of those is going to make this installation look easy peasy! I’ll be blogging about that particular event when it happens, so watch this space.

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