Blackpool MP urges groups to bid for rail carriages

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard is encouraging community groups to create a unique new public space from redundant rail carriages.

 

New trains have started rolling out on the network operated by Northern, transforming journeys for passengers in the North West and beyond. The £500m investment in new diesel and electric carriages will allow Northern to withdraw more than 100 Pacer units.

 

Most will be scrapped, but the Department for Transport is offering three vehicles to be converted into unique public spaces, for whatever use community groups can suggest.

 

Mr Maynard said: “Like many passengers in the North West I have travelled on Pacers. I know how important it is these vehicles, which do not meet disability access regulations and are disliked by passengers, are replaced.

 

“That does not mean they cannot continue to have a use for our local community.

 

“I want groups in Blackpool North and Cleveleys to get their thinking caps on, to come up with ideas for how these carriages might be put to best use. You never know, they might be on track to benefit, alongside passengers, from the transformation of our railways.”

 

Pacers were introduced in the 1980s in response to the need for a low cost rail unit. Based on bus bodies, bolted to freight train frames, the units have been the mainstay of many rural services for nearly three decades.

 

Mr Maynard said: “Passengers can expect a step up in experience as new trains arrive. Blackpool will be among the first destinations in the North West to receive the new trains, which will represent a real step change for passengers.”

 

Guidance on how to bid for a Pacer carriage, alongside entry forms can be found at www.gov.uk/dft. Groups can also contact communityrailcompetition@dft.gov.uk with any queries.

 

A judging panel, chaired by heritage rail entrepreneur Pete Waterman, will pick the winners.