The Northern rail franchise's plan to spend £500m on replacing its old Pacer fleet is derailing at speed, with the network admitting that the hated 1980s stock will continue to roll slowly and noisily around its lines in 2020.
The good news is that the first of the replacement trains officially known as the Class 195 arrived this week to wow regional spotters, but it's the speed of the switch that's infuriating commuters and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, with the latter describing the Pacers as "museum pieces" -- and a particularly boring museum of terrible ageing UK trains it would be too.
Burnham told The Times that: "We have repeatedly been told they will be off our rails by the end of the year and it now looks like they will still be screeching and trundling across the North into next year. This delay is yet another broken promise to people of the North. But what is worse is the fact that Northern will fall foul of new laws on disability access next year as a result."
Nine of the planned 101 replacement trains are on Northern's lines now, with sources claiming manufacturing delays caused by problems with the carriage couplers are slowing the arrival of the rest. [The Times via iNews]