Class 142: The Bus That Became a Train
The British Rail Class 142 Pacer was an attempt to produce a cost effective train to replace the worn-out and elderly first generation BR Diesel Multiple Unit fleet that had been introduced in the late 1950’s. The Class 142 concept was a marriage of proven bus technology and traditional railway chassis and powertrain by utilizing modular Leyland National Bus Bodies mounted on a substantial steel underframe and powered by conventional underfloor diesel engines. They came at a time when the network was lacking in investment, and when first introduced from 1985 onwards, they presented a fresh, bright & clean image, breathing new life into many suburban and rural services.
Unfortunately, soon after introduction, there were serious reliability problems, which necessitated much re-engineering, since when they have become a familiar sight across the network. With two succumbing to accident damage, the remaining fleet ninety-four trains all saw their thirtieth birthday in traffic and the fleet was fully retired by the close of 2020.
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Updated: 1 June 2020