0 to 60: Just how nimble are today’s locos and units, and what’s the quickest off the mark?

Always willing to go the extra mile, Neville Hill grits his teeth to endure a long distance ‘Pacer’ trip with Northern.

THE days of mill owners commuting from the Lancashire coast to their empires in the woollen districts of the West Riding have long since slid away into the mists of time, the remnants of the Morecambe to Leeds and Bradford train service mirroring the fortunes of the industry it formerly served.

Two-car Northern ‘Pacer’ No. 144005 approaches Cononley from Skipton with the 10.34 Morecambe to Leeds on July 19, 2016. This line through the Aire Valley is part of the former Midland Railway’s main route north of Leeds to Scotland via Settle and Carlisle. Richard Allen

Nothing more elegant than a two-car Class 144 ‘Pacer’ (ten of the 23-strong fleet also have a powered centre car) was rostered for my 08.18 Leeds to Morecambe. A succession of politicians has promised the ultimate removal of these DMUs, albeit on a receding timescale, and so they are all still in traffic.

Joining the diesel unit at Bingley, the contrast between the modern Class 333 EMU I took from Bradford could scarcely have been more striking. Glum Lancaster-bound passengers were contemplating the remaining 90 minutes for the 56-mile journey from here on this flat-wheeled bone-shaker. Wiser souls would have changed at Skipton to prolong the comfort of the Class 333, but the aim was to time the Class 144’s acceleration from Keighley towards Skipton.

Read more in the May issue of RE – on sale now!

 

 

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