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End of the line for Pacers...

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by class8mikado, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Evan DMU

    Evan DMU New Member

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    As for preservation, there is a slight conflict for Pacers. One has to ask, is their railway preserving the story of UK rail, or is it preserving the rail era that ended in 1968?
    Interesting point Chris but this discussion is just a symptom of times moving on. I can remember the same discussion as to whether BR Standards should be preserved or not, then it was diesels and dmus, then there was a discussion as to whether anything should ever be painted blue in preservation and so on.
    We will see Pacers preserved, and in time Sprinters and Voyagers, just as we now are seeing an HST. If you grow up loving 66s then that's what you'll want to see preserved when you get older.
    Railway preservation is only now stuck in the "BR black/steam to diesel transition" era because that's what the majority of heritage volunteers remember from their youth but there is now much more of an emphasis on the BR blue period than there was even 10 years ago which is a sign that those from that era are now more prominent than they were.
    25 years ago I took part on an almost identical debate as to whether 1st-gen DMUs should be preserved and look where we are now!
     
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  2. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    You're right it is an interesting one. However I still feel we have hit a bit of a "wall" and that the most popular period of preservation got stuck at 1968 10-20 years ago and is staying there on a lot of the bigger railways. I would say that the majority of the volunteers on the two lines I volunteer on don't remember much about the transition period, they grew up post steam (the older ones remember tatty green diesels) and in the blue era. There is definitely a persistent attitude that "modern" traction is OK so long as there is a picture somewhere of one alongside a steam engine on BR - regardless of the colour it carries in preservation. This is the attitude that I think will stifle Pacer preservation, although as I have already mentioned in an earlier post I am personally against allowing these modern classes to become completely extinct.

    I guess in this discussion the two topics that would be advisable to separate are:
    1. Having a "steam era" diesel running alongside steam preserved in a post-steam condition (i.e. Blue livery etc), or
    2. Having post-steam traction (i.e. Pacers) running on a steam railway when they never rubbed shoulders

    There seems to be a "fresh batch" of preservationists in their 20's and 30's that have grown up with little interest with the mainline railway scene, have grown up with heritage steam railways and are as anti-blue and anti-DMU as their 1960's predecessors!

    I of course agree that BR blue has become more widespread, with more locos and units appearing as time rolls on - that is fact. However in my own experience I've seen railways allow owners to paint their steam-era diesels in post-steam liveries, but then frown upon or block accepting post-steam built diesels into their collections.

    I've volunteered at several places that would only allow a first generation DMU on site provided it was preserved in 1950's (green) condition. Blue or heaven forbid an even later livery was made completely out of the question. This of course fuels my own view that much of the UK's heritage railways want to cap their collection at 1968 and there is an increasing separation between railways with this collections policy and those (such as the Mid Norfolk etc) who have been striving to replicate later eras as well as the earlier ones.

    Perhaps what I said above is pure nonsense to most forum members, but I've enjoyed thinking about this topic :)
     
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  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Preservation is driven by Nostalgia , and the even I can be nostalgia about the first generation DMU's have commuted along the north warwicks . Much of my professional studying as done on them ! The trouble for more modern units is that they are sterile in comparison , passengers sealed in bus like environment which just has no appeal
     
  4. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    I find the Older DMUS with the view through the cab Nostalgic, this isnt a feature of later examples
    My kids like the ' see through ends' too. Whilst not 'Period Correct' Mark 1 Based EMU/ DMU's ends make great observation cars on Heritage Railways.
    The idea of a line that is part of the general network weekdays. and a heritage (only?)line at weekends is an idea that as yet failed to fully materialise, but perhaps this will be come the stomping ground of the post steam era DMU
     
  5. SilentHunter86

    SilentHunter86 New Member

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    There are already a few of the 141s in preservation. Going into the future, there are some of the Mark 3 based EMUs that may well end up with a preserved example - the Dusty Bins perhaps?
     
  6. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    That could well be the way the Swanage Railway goes. Class 117s are currently being overhauled for the Wareham service. However in years to come, if the service is a sucess, it's quite conceivable they could be replaced with Sprinters.
     
  7. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I still cant see how this will work out well for the Swanage. I as Joe Public holiday maker travel to Swanage on a sprinter (or whatever) paying a proportion of my £35 (or whatever it is on advance special family summer only, before 2pm but leaving London after 9.30am fare) to travel from Wareham to Swanage as part of that journey. Why would I then spend £10+ to travel part of the same route behind a steam engine? I have a horrible feeling that the steam ride will not be a sufficient draw for enough people under this scenario.....I hope to be wrong.
     
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  8. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    I should have thought that some agreement be reached with Hastings Diesels to provide "Thumper" units to be in sync with the 1960s era; with Hastings set 1001 main-line certified could it be cost-effective to certify some more vehicles for use on the Wareham - Swanage shuttles rather than use Pacers which have never previously seen service in the area ?
     
  9. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    The Swanage to Wareham services will be a normal public service, rather than a heritage service. As such it will use whatever units are available/cost effective. At the moment this is class 117s, but in years to come it might make sense to buy some Pacers/Sprinters or other more modern DMUs instead.

    The heritage side of the Swanage operation will remain alongside but separate to this.
     
  10. mrKnowwun

    mrKnowwun Part of the furniture

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    Preservation takes time and effort. For people to put in time and effort they need to have some affection or affinity with that being preserved. To garner affection or affinity that to be preserved needs to have some charm, some importance, to have made a favourable or exciting impression on the senses.

    I doubt a cheap poxy leyland bus on freight bogies is going to tick any of those boxes, now or in the future.

    Did they serve a useful purpose? Of course they did, however thats not good enough to remember them.
     
  11. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    There is always the perennial issue of space.
    Many of the pioneering preserved railways were founded in the early post-Beeching era, to preserve and operate steam services. As time has progressed, more diesel locos have been preserved, and as a consequence many lines are now around full capacity for storage. I take as an example my local railway, the K&WVR. A steam line, which now is home to mainline and industrial diesels, as well as 2 DMU sets. Physical and financial constraints dictate that the railway can not just keep expanding for ever.
    As long as we carry on preserving things, we need more and more space to keep them in. What do we do? We obviously do not want to get rid of the items which were originally preserved, as that is not preservation at all.
    Perhaps there will be newer preserved railways springing up solely catering for the BR Blue onwards era, and indeed the post-deregulation era?

    Richard.
     
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  12. Tiviot Dale

    Tiviot Dale New Member

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    Well, as a frequent user of Northern Rail services into Manchester Piccadilly that invariably produce these units, I could never, EVER, get nostalgic over such vile machines! The sooner they are gone, the better!

    Noisy, uncomfortable, cramped and usually over-loaded, they have become locally nicknamed 'Nodding Donkeys' for very real reasons - both visually and by reputation. Okay, I may be one of a generation lucky/unlucky(?) enough to have experienced train travel in an era that certainly wasn't so "sterile", but give me a filthy 2-6-4 tank heading up a rake of begrimed and dusty non-corridors with leaking steam-heating ... any time!

    Nostalgia: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. Can't see me ever yearning for happy times spent cooped-up in Class 142s. SOME things, one CAN become nostalgic over, others far less so!
     

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  13. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Sad to say but I have the opposite view; having seen them in their first flush of youth with GMPTE Orange livery and followed their activities since, I think that they have proved a worthy if unsung contributor to Branch Line Britain. If any unit has a history then 142049 - which was trialled in Canada and the USA IIRC - surely is worth some consideration but then other areas of the country where they have operated may also have personal favourites.

    As an aside to the Piccadilly commuter I should add that shortly after their introduction 142002 was "borrowed" for a weekend shuttle service between Southport Chapel St and Steamport Platform and all the drivers commented that the ride on Steamport tracks was superior to that on national retraces. The suggestion was made that perhaps the Heritage Movement had much to offer the National Network in terms of Railway Operating and Infrastructure Maintenance - and some suggest that may still be the case today !
     
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  14. conrailuk

    conrailuk New Member

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    Maybe I am lucky to not have to use them much, but have had a few interesting rides on a pacer, certainly can remember going Carlisle-Newcastle on one which was going like a bat out of hell! Nice sound on jointed track provided its not to rough!
    Only real plus point is they have nice big windows to look out of....
    Guess they have done well to last this long! (from a build point of view!)

    Keith
     
  15. SilentHunter86

    SilentHunter86 New Member

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    These got flogged to Iran; wow, we must have hated them!
     
  16. athelney

    athelney New Member

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    To quote above "If any unit has a history then 142049 - which was trialled in Canada and the USA IIRC " .....I can confirm if did operate on BC Rail and Southern Railway of BC during 1986 for the Expo in Vancouver ....have pictures .... but don t recollect it operating in the USA .... any pic s to confirm that ?
     
  17. g8bvl

    g8bvl New Member

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    I would be interested to see the gathered folk, freshly relieved of their hard earned, watching an ensemble of bouncy castles offering their doors for a run down a heritage railway.
    The sight of a dirt burner on mk1's is enough to get many heading for refunds as it is
     
  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Dirt burner?
     
  19. g8bvl

    g8bvl New Member

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    Fuel oil
     
  20. Evan DMU

    Evan DMU New Member

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    I would be interested to see the gathered folk, freshly relieved of their hard earned, watching an ensemble of bouncy castles offering their doors for a run down a heritage railway.
    You already can - our 141 works regularly at the Midland Railway. Last summer holiday it was used peak season due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances. Takings held up and passengers didn't complain. You only hear three comments regularly being (1) You get a good view out of this train (2) Isn't this train lovely, warm and clean and (3) See (insert name of kiddie) this is what trains were like when I was a boy/girl.
    As we've operated it for slightly more than 10 years now on both the Midland and the Weardale Railways I think we can positively say that customers quite like it!
    As for dirt production, well you'll never get a steam loco past Euro Emissions Regs, that's for sure.
     

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