Northern forced to hitch Pacer trains to Sprinters to make services accessible to disabled travellers

A Pacer and a Sprinter hitched together to make sure  services are accessible for disabled passengers until the Pacers are taken out of service
A Pacer and a Sprinter hitched together to make sure services are accessible for disabled passengers until the Pacers are taken out of service
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Train operating company Northern is hitching out-dated Pacer trains to its Sprinter trains in a bid to help disabled people.

The company was due to replace all the Pacers by the end of the year but the Spanish makers of the new diesel and electric trains coming into service now, is struggling to keep up with demand.

Some 101 Class 195 and Class 331 trains worth £500m have been ordered.

Therefore, Northern has been forced to keep the 1980s built "rail buses" Pacers on the tracks into next year.

But the Class 142s are uncomfortable and not complaint with current rules to ensure disabled people can travel easily.

Rail sector champion for disabled passengers, Stephen Brookes, who is based in Blackpool, said this would help passengers on the Blackpool South line where Pacers are in use.

He said: “While it is not perfect, Northern are trying their best to make each service accessible.

“The manufacturers have not been able to meet demand.

"Northern is having to take drivers off schedules services to re-train them on the new electric and diesel trains coming on line.

"The Blackpool North line is fully electrified with the only diesel service being the York train, so with the new trains there access is not a problem.”