TWO Pacers made their final journeys on the Transport for Wales network on Saturday, bringing an era to a close during which the Class 143s travelled the equivalent of over five trips to the Moon and back.
Pacers were built by British Rail in the 1980s as an economical replacement for ageing diesel units on local lines.
Based on Leyland bus bodies and using a freight wagon chassis, the Pacers’ unique ride, caused by the fact that they had a fixed wheelbase, gained them the nickname of ‘nodding donkeys’.
They have also been used in the north and south west of England.
Transport for Wales CEO James Price said: ‘The end of the long service of our Pacer trains marks a key step in the transformation of the Valley Lines, as part of the development of the South Wales Metro. While the Pacers have worked hard throughout our network over the last 30 years, our customers deserve more modern trains that provide better facilities, improved accessibility and a more comfortable ride.
‘We’re working hard behind the scenes to deliver brand new trains to replace the existing fleet, which will provide more capacity and faster, greener journeys in years to come. In the interim, we have introduced the larger Class 769 trains which provide increased capacity.’
TfW began withdrawing its Pacers in December, but not all of them are heading for the scrapyard. One has already been presented to the Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway in Carmarthenshire, and several more will be donated to other heritage railways and community projects over the coming weeks.