Speaking in response to the publication of the Invitations to Tender for the Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises, Louise Ellman welcomes proposals to withdraw pacer trains by 2020.
Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee said:
"In January the Transport Committee called for the Secretary of State for Transport to use his franchise specification powers to require the removal of Pacers by 2020. I am delighted that he has accepted this recommendation for the Northern Rail franchise, and that passengers on busy commuter routes in and out of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool will no longer face cramped and uncomfortable journeys on these outdated and unpopular trains.
I also welcome the news that the Department for Transport has dropped the unfair suggestion that passengers in the north should make a trade-off between significant fare increases and the quality of rolling stock.
We will be taking evidence from the Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary on Monday 9 March, and will take this opportunity to examine closely the specification for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises, and question the Minister on the future of Pacer trains currently in use in Wales and the South West. The rail regulator has cautioned about the safety of Pacers, which were built in the 1980s and have no place on our rail network."
The Transport Committee holds an evidence session with the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, and the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, Philip Rutnam, on Monday 9 March at 4.05pm.
Recommendation 15 from the Transport Committee’s Investing in the railway report, published on 23 January 2015, stated:
"It is unacceptable that Pacer trains—built in the mid-1980s and of questionable safety—are still in use on busy rail lines. We recommend the Secretary of State uses his franchise specification powers to require the removal of Pacer trains from the rail network by 2020 at the latest."