|British Rail Class 144 Pacer|
The refurbished interior of an Arriva Rail North Class 144
|Refurbished||2002-2004 and 2010, 2015 (became 144e)|
|Number built||23 trainsets|
|Capacity||99 or 157 seats per unit|
|Car body construction||Steel underframe. Aluminium alloy body and roof.|
|Width||2.695 m (8 ft in)|
|Height||3.725 m (12 ft in)|
|Floor height||1.288 m (4 ft in)|
|Doors||Twin leaf pivot|
|Wheelbase||9 m (29 ft in)|
|Maximum speed||75 mph (121 km/h)|
|Engine type||6-cylinder 10-litre|
(originally 6-cylinder 11.1-litre) turbo-Diesel
|Transmission||Hydraulic, Voith (originally mechanical, SCG|
|Multiple working||Class 14x, 15x and 170|
The British Rail Class 144 Pacer diesel multiple units (DMUs) were built by British Rail Engineering Limited's Derby Litchurch Lane Works from 1986 to 1987. A total of 23 units were built, replacing many of the earlier first-generation "Heritage" DMUs.
Class 144 units are in service with Northern Trains, but all units were due to be withdrawn by the end of 2019 as they do not meet new disability regulations. Due to the late delivery of the new Class 195 and Class 331 trains, the 144s were to continue to operate in the South Yorkshire area until the middle of 2020, but when services were reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic all the class 144 units were stored out of use at Keighley on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
At the beginning of the 1980s British Rail (BR) had a large fleet of ageing "Heritage" DMUs, built to many different designs in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Some of the more reliable types were retained and refurbished. However, BR decided to replace many of the non-standard or unreliable types with new second generation units, built to modern standards. Two different types were pursued; low-cost "Pacers" built using bus parts and used on short-distance services; and "Sprinters" built for longer-distance services.
Twenty-three Class 144 units were built. The units have a maximum speed of 75 mph (121 km/h) and are externally similar to the earlier Class 143 Pacers (they have a Walter Alexander body like the Class 143), built in 1985-1986. The first thirteen of the class, No. 144001-013 are 2-car units. The remaining ten, No. 144014-023 are all 3-car units, although all were originally built as 2-car units, the centre vehicle being added later. These ten Pacers are the only Pacers to contain intermediate vehicles.
Units are formed of two driving motors, one of which contains a toilet. The 3-car units have an additional intermediate motor. All vehicles have standard-class seating only. The technical description of the formation is DMS+(MS)+DMSL. Individual vehicles are numbered as follows.
The Class 144 units have BSI couplers. This allows them to work in multiple with Class 142, Class 150, Class 153, Class 155, Class 156, Class 158 and Class 170 units, as well as units of the same class.
The class were built specifically for local services sponsored by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (since rebranded as Metro). As such, the fleet was painted in the crimson/cream West Yorkshire Metro livery, although three units (nos. 144011-013) were later repainted into Regional Railways livery. Units are used on services such as:
They can also be found operating the Leeds-Morecambe services, services between Scunthorpe and Adwick to Sheffield and Lincoln. More recently from 2008, they have been working between Manchester Victoria and Leeds (usually via Brighouse) amongst others. Prior to 1994, they were also used on Leeds/Bradford-Ilkley and Leeds/Bradford-Skipton services. These lines were electrified in 1994, and passenger services were operated by Class 308 electric multiple units. Due to their similarities, services booked for a Class 144 can often be replaced by a Class 142, and vice versa.
Since privatisation, the fleet has been operated by several franchises. The first operator was Northern Spirit, which was later taken over by Arriva Trains Northern who refurbished the fleet between 2002 and 2004, with units emerging in a new silver and red Metro livery complete with refurbished interior. In December 2004, the fleet was transferred to the then-new Northern rail franchise. Northern Rail replaced the silver and red Metro livery with Northern Purple and Blue. During 2009, 144001-013 were all repainted. As of April 2010, all Class 144s have been repainted.
Northern Rail carried out a refurbishment programme to their fleet of Class 144 trains. 144006 was the first unit to be so treated and this was also the first one to be refurbished in the joint Arriva Trains Northern/WYPTE Metro programme in 2002.
The Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2008 required that all public passenger trains be accessible by 1 January 2020. No Pacer train (except the prototype Class 144e) met this requirement. Porterbrook proposed an extensive refurbishment of the Class 143 and 144 units in an attempt to meet this requirement, although this would reduce the number of seats. All were to be withdrawn by December 2019. Northern ordered the Class 195 and Class 331 units to replace the Pacers, as well as taking on spare stock from other operators. However, due to the late delivery of the new trains, the 144s will continue to operate in the South Yorkshire area until the middle of 2020. In 2019, Northern received a dispensation to allow some of the class to be used until 31 August 2020, with use only permitted on specified routes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many railway passenger services were curtailed with passenger numbers down by 95% in some areas. Northern Trains stored 18 units on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway with the other five stored at Heaton TMD.
Six units have been saved for preservation, five units being two-coach units and the sixth being a three-coach unit.
|Set number||Vehicle numbers||Livery||Preserved at||Notes|
|144003||55803||-||55826||Northern Rail unbranded||Great Central Railway (Nottingham)||Currently stored and awaiting transfer into preservation.|
|144004||55804||-||55827||Northern Rail unbranded||Aln Valley Railway|
|144006||55806||-||55829||Northern Rail unbranded||Cambrian Heritage Railway||Moved to Cambrian Heritage Railways on 22 May 2020.|
|144007||55807||-||55830||Northern Rail unbranded||Cambrian Heritage Railway||Moved to Cambrian Heritage Railways on 22 May 2020.|
|144011||55811||-||55834||Northern Rail unbranded||Keighley and Worth Valley Railway||Currently stored and awaiting transfer into preservation.|
|144017||55817||55853||55840||Northern Rail unbranded||Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Group||Currently stored and awaiing transfer into preservation.|
To be a static display at the AFRPGs Scunthorpe Headquarters.
Not all of the preserved Class 144s are to see operational use on heritage lines. A number of class members are intended to see uses elsewhere as expansions for businesses or for training purposes.
A number of organisations took part in a Department for Transport competition called "Transform a Pacer" where ideas are put forward for what they wish to do with a Pacer unit. One entrant intended to keep a Pacer running and update it to meet disability regulations. The three winners were later announced on the 22 January 2020 episode of The One Show. The chosen Pacer units are not yet confirmed.
|Set number||Vehicle numbers||Livery||Preserved at||Notes|
|1440XX||55XXX||55XXX||55XXX||Northern Rail unbranded||Platform 1, Huddersfield Station||Won from Porterbrook's "Convert a Pacer" competition. To be used in a project to expand the society to attract more members.|
|1440XX||55XXX||55XXX||55XXX||Northern Rail unbranded||Fagley Primary School||Won from Porterbrook's "Convert a Pacer" competition. To be converted into a science lab to promote STEM learning.|
|1440XX||55XXX||55XXX||55XXX||Northern Rail unbranded||Airedale NHS Trust||Won from Porterbrook's "Convert a Pacer" competition. To be converted for mixed use. To aid improvements in the children's unit alongside for visiting patients.|
The Class 144e (Evolution) was a proposed refurbished variant of the Class 144 which would bring it up to the requirements of the Persons with reduced mobility-Technical Specifications for Interoperability accessibility regulations. The demonstrator Class 144e unit (144012) featured a number of upgrades such as the addition of new 2+2 style seating, a fully accessible toilet, two wheelchair spaces and spaces for bicycles and luggage. as well as Wi-Fi and media screens. The demonstrator unit was expected to re-enter traffic in April 2015, but this was delayed until later in the year.
Twenty-three units were built in total, originally all were formed as in 2 coach sets (144001 - 144013). In 1988, a third car was added to the last ten sets (144014 - 144023).
|Class||Operator||Year Built||Number||Unit nos||Cars per Set||Notes|
|Stored||11||144001–005, 009–013, 021||2||008 stored with centre coach from 021.|
|10||144008, 014–020, 022–023||3|
One unit has received a name :
A pair of Northern/WYPTE Class 144 Pacers No. 144005 and 144015 at Leeds
Northern/WYPTE Metro Class 144 Pacer No. 144020 at Leeds
The experimental, prototype trial Northern refurbished Class 144 ePacer No. 144012 at Leeds