NORTHERN WITHDREW its final Pacer from passenger service on 27 November. No 142004, coupled to No 150225, worked the 16.36 Kirkby to Manchester Victoria, bringing over 35 years of service in the north of England to an end.
Ninety-six Class 142 units were built between 1985 and 1987, with 79 sets allocated to Northern before withdrawal commenced. Along with the 23 Class 144 units, the fleet was given a dispensation to work beyond the end of 2019, the deadline for trains in passenger service to meet Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) standards, due to the late delivery of the replacement CAF Class 195 units. The Pacers were initially taken out of traffic during March 2020 without ceremony as Northern focused on delivering the essential ‘key worker’ timetable, as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. The need to provide additional capacity for social distancing as passengers returned to the railways saw a return to service for a number of Class 142s, with the Department for Transport having granted an additional dispensation for their use, normally coupled to a compliant unit, allowing them to remain in service until 31 December 2020.