Transform a Pacer competition to recycle Class 144 carriages for the community

Three Northern 'Pacer' Class 144 carriages will be the prizes in the DfT's 'Transform a Pacer' competition.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a competition to find the best community use for a recycled ‘Pacer’ train.

Under the title ‘Transform a Pacer’, community groups across the North have been invited to submit plans and ideas for how an old Pacer carriage could be converted into a vibrant public space. From a café to a yoga studio, the DfT is opening the floor to ideas on how the Pacer carriages could be renovated to continue to serve communities.

The winning proposals will see three Pacer carriages, donated by rolling stock company Porterbrook, installed ready for transformation.

After more than three decades of service, Pacer trains are being phased out alongside the introduction of a fleet of entirely new and refurbished trains across the northern network.

Interior of an in-service Class 144 Pacer.

The carriages that are prizes in the competition will be single carriages from a Class 144 train. They will be made safe and, if the winners request it, the interiors (seats, luggage racks) will be removed. Bogies and running gear can also be removed on request so the carriage can sit flat on the floor.

Pete Waterman, famed record producer and rail enthusiast, has been named as head judge.  The other four are:

  • Tim Dunn (Railway enthusiast, historian, broadcaster and presenter of Trainspotting Live)
  • Mary Grant (the CEO of railways rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook)
  • Jools Townsend (Chief Executive of The Association of Community Rail Partnerships – ACoRP)
  • Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland.
Pete Waterman.

When his participation was announced, Pete Waterman said: “This competition provides a fantastic opportunity for community groups to actively engage with the rail network to make a difference to their local areas.

“I’m delighted to be chairing the judging panel to oversee the proposals put forward ensuring they are realistic, credible and provide a real benefit to wider northern communities.”

The competition closes on 30 September. Winners will be given time to prepare the sites for their new carriages which will be delivered over the Spring and Summer 2020.

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