New life for Platform 1’s pacer as it is lifted into Huddersfield station

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  • Platform 1 mental health charity in Huddersfield takes delivery of 19-tonne restored train carriage, delivered by crane
  • Charity won a Department for Transport (DfT) competition to ‘Transform a Pacer’ and will use it for an educational kitchen
  • Competition marked the end of the line for the unpopular Pacer trains on the Northern network

A retired train carriage was lowered into position at Huddersfield Station for local charity Platform 1 on 10 July 2021, breathing new life into a Pacer train and giving it a new permanent home.

The 19-tonne carriage was lifted into position overnight by a crane positioned on St George’s Street, hoisting it over the high wall into the station.

The vehicle is the second of the retired trains to be delivered to community projects as part of DfT’s Transform a Pacer competition in the north of England after another vehicle was recently delivered to a primary school in Bradford to create a new science laboratory.

The competition means that after three decades of service to northern communities, retired Pacer trains will now serve them in new and exciting ways that are focused on bringing the community together.

The train delivered to Platform 1 was provided by rolling stock company Porterbrook and has been in service since 1986, travelling over three million miles across the network in that time. It was installed with the help of Network Rail teams, who managed the logistics of putting it into place. Network Rail also donated the railway sleepers for the Pacer to sit on.

Chris Heaton Harris, Rail Minister, said: “It’s not every day you get to see a train suspended metres above a station. This has been a fantastic project for everyone involved and I am so pleased that this Pacer will support the exceptional and important work Platform 1 do in the local community.

“Now that Pacers are off the network with modern, new trains running in their place, passengers will be pleased to know the Pacer at the platform is retired from service, but still helping the people of Huddersfield.”

Gez Walsh, Project Leader at Platform 1, said: “The Pacer trains may not have been popular in their working life, but this one will be cherished in its retirement.

“This train will now take people on a journey of development and deliver them to a more happy, secure life.”

Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Northern, said: “We’re delighted to be able to make a positive impact by helping Platform 1 expand the already outstanding support they offer to the wider Huddersfield community.

“Our Pacers gave many decades’ service to those same communities and now that they’ve been replaced on our network by brand new trains, it’s great to see one of those old carriages being given a new lease of life as a hub for Platform 1.”

Other winners include Airedale NHS Trust, which will use the vehicle to improve local NHS services, transforming their carriage into a mixed-use, non-clinical space to improve the experience of patients using Airedale General Hospital.

This will have a particular focus on helping children and families, as well as those suffering from dementia and it will provide a unique communal environment to support patients during their stay.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “We were delighted to support DfT’s Transform a Pacer competition and particularly pleased that one of the winners is a charity in Huddersfield devoted to supporting mental wellbeing.

Many organisations from across the industry have joined together with Porterbrook and DfT to deliver this Pacer vehicle to the Platform 1 site, including Bam Nuttall, Harry Needle Railroad Company (HNRC), Network Rail and Northern.

“I would like to thank all those involved as they have shown, yet again, how the railway works together to deliver for the communities we serve.”

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