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The Pacer Family (ePub)

End of an Era

Transport History Photo eBooks Colour eBooks Trains and Railways

By Fred Kerr
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 30.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 120
ISBN: 9781526726940
Published: 2nd May 2018

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In the 1980s British Railways sought a cheap replacement for the ailing Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trainsets which saw the introduction of the Class 14x trainsets that became known as Pacers. These proved to be cheap to operate hence popular with the operators but less popular with the travelling public who found the rigid 4-wheel chassis provided a basic and uncomfortable ride.

Fred Kerr, a life-long rail enthusiast and well-known railway photographer, became familiar with these trainsets when the Class 141 trainsets passed near to his parent’s house in Corby whilst being trialled between Derby and Bedford and, later, when the Class 142 trainsets appeared in his home town of Southport as part of the driver training programme for Wigan crews prior to working local services to Manchester.

He has continued taking photographs of the Pacer trainsets, which he sees as part of the evolving traction changes, hence has a collection of images from the various stages of the Pacer history that forms the basis of this album. The images cover a wide variety of locations and, surprisingly, reveal little known facets of their life; the rarity of Class 141 trainsets initially provided with Workington Blue livery, the unusual operation of Newcastle-based trainsets on the Windermere branch and the wide variety of trainsets that have operated in his home county of Lancashire.

The Pacer trainsets were introduced in the mid-1980s and will be withdrawn by 2020, due to their failure to meet the requirements of the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Interoperable Rail System) Regulation 2008. Fred Kerr’s book chronicles their contribution, during their years of service, to the operation of railway services, many of which would otherwise have been closed without the availability of the “cheap and cheerful” Pacer trainsets. As they enter their final years of service, this album celebrates the many services that have been operated, the builders who supplied them and the operators who have used them on their services throughout the years.

Sometimes described as Britain's least loved train the Pacer began when British Rail sought a cheap replacement for the Modernisation Plan diesel multiple units.
Among wide ranging pictures there are some of Pacers in Wales, with a delightful view of 143616 entering Pontypridd on a snowy February day, arguably the best in the book.

Welsh Railways Research Circle No.156

About Fred Kerr

Fred Kerr is a life-long railway enthusiast who was born in Edinburgh in 1948 and moved to Corby in 1956, where he was introduced to industrial locomotives operating in the local steelworks. Whilst more familiar with main-line locomotives, his conversion to digital photography in 2001 saw him renew his interest in industrial locomotives, especially those still working at the many heritage sites throughout the UK which he visits as and when the opportunity arises. He is currently a life member of the A4 Preservation Society; The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and The Ribble Steam Railway.

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