Just lost my Pacer virginity

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SprinterMan

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Today, for the first time ever, I have ridden on a pacer :)

I decided to go to Manchester Airport visitors centre today (and very good it was too!) and so got on the 0922 to Euston in Bangor to go to Crewe. The 221 had quite a bad case of smelly toilet today but aside from that was very good. I got to Crewe on time and swapped onto a Northern 323. It was an unrefurbished one and was in a very sorry state. Most of the seats had collapsed and were very uncomfortable, it was nearly as bad as a green-seated GA 321. After a lovely look round Manchester Airport runway visitors park I got on a TPX 185 to Manchester Picc. 185s seem to get alot of hate on here, but they don't strike me as particularly bad, very like a diesel 350/1 tbh.

I got to Manchester and had alot of time to kill between trains, so I decided to go to Edale and back, as it is a very scenic line I have always wanted to do and I was hoping that for the first time ever I could bag me a Pacer, and see what all the fuss was about. The local train to sheffield pulled into platform 1, and disaster! It was a 150/1. I must say Northern have done a superb job refurbishing their 150/1s (It wasn't an ex-LM one). I am used to utterly dreadful ATW 150/2s, and it was worlds away from that, it was very comfortable and clean and it had a DDA toilet (I think, well one with a power door anyway :P).

I arrived in Edale with 15 mins until my return train. I walked through the little tunnel to the other platform and waited. My god it was spooky; low cloud shrouded the tops of all the surrounding mountains, and the sound of far-away sheep and cattle sounded like the moaning of an advancing hoard of zombies (the fog and the noises had frightened me alot tbh). Then, out of the mist, came 142018! My 1st pacer. It was one with a Northern Spirit interior, so no bus seats or merseyrail seats! The seats seemed to be out of a 1970s minicab, but despite there being no legroom, were very comfortable indeed, I think they are the softest train seats I have ever come across.

After a bouncy ride back to manchester (including a moment in the long Edale tunnel (Edit: Cowburn Tunnel) where I'm sure it nearly bounced off the track) my pacer experience was over. I got a 390 to Crewe then a 221 back to bangor (it was a double set, including a portion to wrexham that was basically empty. Why VT still run there I do not know.).

Overall, I must say that I now think pacers are fantastic (excluding ones with bus or merseyrail seats). When 142018 came bounding out of the fog like a happy puppy, I wondered why they are so hated. It had real personality, something that is not always seen in modern trains. The seats were very comfortable, far more so than a desiro or IC70 seat, although leg room was appalling. I feel very lucky to have experienced a pacer in it's natural habitat before they are withdrawn.

Maybe, when they are withdrawn, GA can get a 142 with Northern Spirit seats and use it on the Sudbury branch line and run it as a heritage line, much like SWT did with lymington and the final 421s. Or maybe not. :P
 
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RichmondCommu

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After a bouncy ride back to manchester (including a moment in the long Edale tunnel wher I'm sure it nearly bounced off the track) my pacer experience was over. I got a 390 to Crewe then a 221 back to bangor (it was a double set, including a portion to wrexham that was basically empty. Why VT still run there I do not know.)

Just for the record its Cowburn tunnel but never the less an enjoyable read! You also might be interested to know that the summit of the line is inside Cowburn tunnel. The "mountains" would have been Mam Tor on the southern side of the dale and Kinder Scout on the other side. Glad to read that you had an enjoyable day out!
 

SprinterMan

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Just for the record its Cowburn tunnel but never the less an enjoyable read! You also might be interested to know that the summit of the line is inside Cowburn tunnel. The "mountains" would have been Mam Tor on the southern side of the dale and Kinder Scout on the other side. Glad to read that you had an enjoyable day out!

Thanks :)
I have corrected the bit about the tunnel :)

How far above sea level is the summit?
 

deltic1989

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I know Pacers get a lot of bad rep, from members of this forum and in other places. Not all of the bad press is unjustified, as some pacers can be awful to ride on due to hard seats e.t.c. My own personal experience of pacers has been 142s and 144s Northern use on the Lincoln Central - Adwick route between Lincoln and Rotherham, In my opinion they really shouldnt be used on a service of that distance due to the fact that they can be so damned uncomfortable.

But after saying all that, they are a shining example of what a Government can do when they need new trains and have hardly any money, they were cheap and cheerful and built to a price and to that end they are pretty amazing.
 

RichmondCommu

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Thanks :)
I have corrected the bit about the tunnel :)

How far above sea level is the summit?

No worries :) Alas I'm not able to answer your question although I've walked over Cowburn many times having been born and raised in Derbyshire. I have a book on railway summits at home but I'm away from home tonight. The entry on Wikipedia has nothing on this either. Edale village is a pretty small place but is a mecca for walkers in the summer.
 

SprinterMan

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I know Pacers get a lot of bad rep, from members of this forum and in other places. Not all of the bad press is unjustified, as some pacers can be awful to ride on due to hard seats e.t.c. My own personal experience of pacers has been 142s and 144s Northern use on the Lincoln Central - Adwick route between Lincoln and Rotherham, In my opinion they really shouldnt be used on a service of that distance due to the fact that they can be so damned uncomfortable.

But after saying all that, they are a shining example of what a Government can do when they need new trains and have hardly any money, they were cheap and cheerful and built to a price and to that end they are pretty amazing.

I agree, bus seated ones and merseyrail seated ones look awful, and probably are awful. I was lucky with my pacer, as NS seated ones along with WYPTE 144s are the pride of Northern's pacer fleet. There is also just not enough legroom for them to do a long journey like the HoW line comfortably. It really is amazing how they are still going today, despite the fact they are just a bus parked on an old goods wagon. :P

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

No worries :) Alas I'm not able to answer your question although I've walked over Cowburn many times having been born and raised in Derbyshire. I have a book on railway summits at home but I'm away from home tonight. The entry on Wikipedia has nothing on this either. Edale village is a pretty small place but is a mecca for walkers in the summer.

Hmm, I have heard people mention Edale before due to walking holidays they had been on, I originally wanted to go all the way to Hope, but that left me with a 2min window to get the return train and we were 3mins late at Edale so I cut my losses and got off early :)
 
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RichmondCommu

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Hmm, I have heard people mention Edale before due to walking holidays they had been on, I originally wanted to go all the way to Hope, but that left me with a 2min window to get the return train and we were 3mins late at Edale so I cut my losses and got off early :)

Edale is the start of the mother of all long distance walks, the Pennine Way so that is perhaps where you've heard the name mentioned. I walked the Pennine Way when I turned 18; I'm now 45! When I first started going up there Class 31's had just taken over trans Pennine services after the Swindon built cross country DMU's had been withdrawn.

As for Hope that is something to look forward to for next time! The advantage of running all the way to Hope is the view you get of the perennially busy Earles Sidings. And if you're lucky a glimpse of the Class 20 which works trains down to the Lafarge complex.
 

SprinterMan

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Welcome to the club :p

That has got to be the most amusing thread title I have ever seen on here!

Thanks :)
I also went on my first 323 today, and it turns out I share your opinion of them, hateful things :P

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

Edale is the start of the mother of all long distance walks, the Pennine Way so that is perhaps where you've heard the name mentioned. I walked the Pennine Way when I turned 18; I'm now 45! When I first started going up there Class 31's had just taken over trans Pennine services after the Swindon built cross country DMU's had been withdrawn.

As for Hope that is something to look forward to for next time! The advantage of running all the way to Hope is the view you get of the perennially busy Earles Sidings. And if you're lucky a glimpse of the Class 20 which works trains down to the Lafarge complex.

Wow, that sounds great :)
Is Edale-Hope a scenic stretch of line?
 
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wintonian

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Welcome to the club :p

That has got to be the most amusing thread title I have ever seen on here!

Most amusing since the errm.. well. meter high club was discussed. ;)

Anyway whatever people do think about Pacers ones first trip on one (particularly if has bus seats and its winter) is always going to be a memorable experience.

I remember mine a FGW thing with bus seats down the atlantic line, it was on that same line where I presented the guard with a free FGW first class ticket that somewhat bemused him and he tried saying it wasn't valid as there was not first class on his Pacer until I pointed out it was also valid when there was no first class available.

Could have made quite a story that one I think; - "Passenger Refused Travel on Pacer Due to Lack of First Class Accommodation" :)
 
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No worries :) Alas I'm not able to answer your question although I've walked over Cowburn many times having been born and raised in Derbyshire. I have a book on railway summits at home but I'm away from home tonight. The entry on Wikipedia has nothing on this either. Edale village is a pretty small place but is a mecca for walkers in the summer.

796 ft above sea level according to this article :- http://www.brocross.com/iwps/pages/174/1740109.htm


NB: You have to scroll down quite a long way to find the info.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Thanks :)
I also went on my first 323 today, and it turns out I share your opinion of them, hateful things :P

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---



Wow, that sounds great :)
Is Edale-Hope a scenic stretch of line?

Yes I think so.
 

HSTEd

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How much cheaper were Pacers than Sprinters anyway?
I imagine quite a bit, but were there any hard figures published at the time?
 

ACE1888

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Living the dream eh? Must say I did enjoy their 'farewell' from the South West bash at the end of last year, ok in general on all welded rail...on the mainline, not for jointed track though for sure...
 

starrymarkb

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How much cheaper were Pacers than Sprinters anyway?
I imagine quite a bit, but were there any hard figures published at the time?

IIRC there wasn't much in it. But the Pacers appeared a lot earlier. I believe the options at the time were the Pacer or Heavyweight and expensive 210 DEMU. BR then discovered the Dutch had developed a successful mediumweight regional unit based around a Cummins engine and Voith hydraulic transmission. This was adapted for the UK and became the template for the Sprinter.

The Pacers had mechanical transmission as built and were later retrofitted with the Voith transmission.
 

Samtron2000

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If everybody could remove their Rose tinted specs for a minute. Please bear a thought for those of us who have to commute into Manchester every day on a pacer - stood up!! Absolutely wretched machines!!!
 

ojo

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If everybody could remove their Rose tinted specs for a minute. Please bear a thought for those of us who have to commute into Manchester every day on a pacer - stood up!! Absolutely wretched machines!!!

Agreed, especially the bench seated beasts. When working an evening class and I get to the platform to be greeted my one of these... things, and know I have a 50 min journey I can feel like crying.

What gets me, apart form the rough ride, is the flooring does not suit a wet climate and pools of water run up and down the train on occasions. They also smell, have little room for luggage and are noisey. Nearly two hours a day on them, ten hours a week, and you feel like hurting them.

My partner and I call them 'dreadvans', a portmanteau of 'dread' and 'breadvan'. Satan's own sleigh.
 

aformeruser

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TIt was a 150/1. I must say Northern have done a superb job refurbishing their 150/1s (It wasn't an ex-LM one).

They were fully refurbished under the North Western Trains franchise with new seats and an accessible toilet but most/all have got replacement seat covers and flooring under Northern.


Overall, I must say that I now think pacers are fantastic (excluding ones with bus or merseyrail seats). When 142018 came bounding out of the fog like a happy puppy, I wondered why they are so hated.

Small seats
No leg room
Poor ride quality
Draughty in winter
Very hot in summer

Try spending an hour to an hour and a half on one.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
IIRC there wasn't much in it. But the Pacers appeared a lot earlier. I believe the options at the time were the Pacer or Heavyweight and expensive 210 DEMU. BR then discovered the Dutch had developed a successful mediumweight regional unit based around a Cummins engine and Voith hydraulic transmission. This was adapted for the UK and became the template for the Sprinter.

The North West, south of Lancaster, wasn't supposed to get Pacers or 150s. It was due to get 210s for both diesel and electric lines but that got changed to a mixture of 142s and 150s due to budget problems, with 323s and Metrolink trams replacing the first generation EMUs.

The South West had 142s built for the branch lines but they got cascaded north due to issues on the Cornish branches, so the north finished up with an abundance of 142s.
 

Lampshade

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You got a Pacer with the Northern Spirit interior - if you'd have got one with Merseyrail seats you'd be on here ranting about how they must be scrapped. I commute on them every day, I always hope for one with the NS interior but I can just about tolerate the ones with bus seats. However if an ex-Merseyrail one turns up you know it's going to be a bad day :shock:

And Northern have done a good job refurbishing the 150/1s? Nope, First North Western did that :p
 

sprinterguy

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Wow, that sounds great :)
Is Edale-Hope a scenic stretch of line?
The entire Hope Valley is a scenic stretch of line :) Maybe it's just me but I find that there's something very satisfying about watching the trains negotiate the long S-bend between Edale and Hope from up on the ridge that leads down from Mam Tor.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
But the Pacers appeared a lot earlier.
The 150s are of a similar vintage to the 142s. Although development of the Pacers did start considerably earlier than it did for the Sprinters.

The Pacers certainly are quirky trains with a lot of character. However they just aren't cut out for the sort of high density commuter work that is being asked of them.
 

yorksrob

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I find the 143's and 144's tend to be a lot better maintained and have consistently better interiors than the 142's which vary quite a lot.
 

sprinterguy

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I find the 143's and 144's tend to be a lot better maintained and have consistently better interiors than the 142's which vary quite a lot.
Agreed: The 143s and 144s seem to get a lot less stick than do the unfortunate much-maligned 142s as they are, relatively speaking, a better quality train. It's strange; Leyland produced many of the very finest designs of bus; the Leopard, the National, Lynxes, Atlanteans and Olympians; but they just never seemed to "get it" when it came to train design, with the 142s or the 155s IMO.
 

yorksrob

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Agreed: The 143s and 144s seem to get a lot less stick than do the unfortunate much-maligned 142s as they are, relatively speaking, a better quality train. It's strange; Leyland produced many of the very finest designs of bus; the Leopard, the National, Lynxes, Atlanteans and Olympians; but they just never seemed to "get it" when it came to train design, with the 142s or the 155s IMO.

Yeah. Although I'm not much up on buses, I've always found the 155's to be pretty decent, albeit perhaps a little cramped. TBH, I think the interiors are a bigger part of the issue with a lot of 142's than anything else.
 

John55

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IIRC there wasn't much in it. But the Pacers appeared a lot earlier. I believe the options at the time were the Pacer or Heavyweight and expensive 210 DEMU. BR then discovered the Dutch had developed a successful mediumweight regional unit based around a Cummins engine and Voith hydraulic transmission. This was adapted for the UK and became the template for the Sprinter.

The Pacers had mechanical transmission as built and were later retrofitted with the Voith transmission.

At the time it was generally understood that Pacers were much cheaper than any alternative. The alternative was the very expensive Class 210. That was until WMPTE who refused to have anything to do wiith Pacers asked Metro-Cammell how much would an up to date traditional underfloor engined DMU cost. The answer was more but not that much more than a Pacer. Hence the prototype Sprinters from BREL & Metro-Cammell and the subsequent orders for lots of Sprinters.

The first 75 x 2 car Pacers (CL 142/3) cost £25 million (£169k/vehicle for BREL/Leyland and £161k/vehicle for the Alexander versions).

The first 50 x 2 car class 150 Sprinters cost £22 million (£220k/vehicle).

The numbers above come from Modern Railways in 1984.

The orders were placed within months of each other so BR could have gone for no Pacers and lots of Sprinters if it could have made the mathematics work.
 

aformeruser

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The first 75 x 2 car Pacers (CL 142/3) cost £25 million (£169k/vehicle for BREL/Leyland and £161k/vehicle for the Alexander versions).

The first 50 x 2 car class 150 Sprinters cost £22 million (£220k/vehicle).

75 x 2 car Pacers would have provided 9000 seats

50 x 2 car 150/1s would have provided 6900 seats

I make that around a 12% saving in cost in ordering Pacers over 150s when comparing equivalent capacity.
 

4SRKT

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Bus seat pacers are the business for maximum visibility, and if you get a 3-seat bench to yourself are very comfy, especially if you are tall and can put your legs out along it.

Now that you're a big pacer fan it's time to sign up to join this exclusive club. We don't take just any old riff-raff you know! http://www.pacerpreservationsociety.co.uk/

When the rows begin among the members about what state one should be preserved in, I'll be in the bus seat camp for total authenticity!
 
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tbtc

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Is it just me who gets confused about SprinterMan and sprinterguy discussing Pacers?

Is Edale-Hope a scenic stretch of line?

The entire Hope Valley is a scenic stretch of line :) Maybe it's just me but I find that there's something very satisfying about watching the trains negotiate the long S-bend between Edale and Hope from up on the ridge that leads down from Mam Tor

Its a lovely stretch of line to do, and a lovely line to look down on from that ridge too - lovely stuff

How much cheaper were Pacers than Sprinters anyway?
I imagine quite a bit, but were there any hard figures published at the time?

The first 75 x 2 car Pacers (CL 142/3) cost £25 million (£169k/vehicle for BREL/Leyland and £161k/vehicle for the Alexander versions).

The first 50 x 2 car class 150 Sprinters cost £22 million (£220k/vehicle).

The numbers above come from Modern Railways in 1984

Not a huge difference, considering that Pacers are a few metres shorter

the 0922 to Euston in Bangor to go to Crewe. The 221 had quite a bad case of smelly toilet today

Shh! You'll spoil the received wisdom that Virgin have sorted the "toilet" problem on Voyagers and its only AXC who have "issues" (no pun intended)

After a bouncy ride back to manchester (including a moment in the long Edale tunnel (Edit: Cowburn Tunnel) where I'm sure it nearly bounced off the track)

If you get to do the ride from Sheffield you get the long Totley tunnel too (between Dore and Grindleford) - with the Pacer's windows open its like descending into hell :lol:

I remember mine a FGW thing with bus seats down the atlantic line, it was on that same line where I presented the guard with a free FGW first class ticket that somewhat bemused him and he tried saying it wasn't valid as there was not first class on his Pacer until I pointed out it was also valid when there was no first class available.

Could have made quite a story that one I think; - "Passenger Refused Travel on Pacer Due to Lack of First Class Accommodation" :)

:lol:
 

4SRKT

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I'm sure the sprinterman/sprinterguy confusion will be resolved by sprinterman's imminent username change to pacerman.
 
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