In the 1980s British Railways sought a cheap replacement for the ailing Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trainsets which saw the introduction of the Class 14x trainsets that became known as Pacers. These proved to be cheap to operate hence popular with the operators but less popular with the travelling public who found the rigid 4-wheel chassis provided a basic and uncomfortable ride.
Fred Kerr, a life-long rail enthusiast and well-known railway photographer, became familiar with these trainsets when the Class 141 trainsets passed near to his parent's house in Corby whilst being trialled between Derby and Bedford and, later, when the Class 142 trainsets appeared in his home town of Southport as part of the driver training programme for Wigan crews prior to working local services to Manchester.
He has continued taking photographs of the Pacer trainsets, which he sees as part of the evolving traction changes, hence has a collection of images from the various stages of the Pacer history that forms the basis of this album. The images cover a wide variety of locations and, surprisingly, reveal little known facets of their life; the rarity of Class 141 trainsets initially provided with Workington Blue livery, the unusual operation of Newcastle-based trainsets on the Windermere branch and the wide variety of trainsets that have operated in his home county of Lancashire.
The Pacer trainsets were introduced in the mid-1980s and will be withdrawn by 2020, due to their failure to meet the requirements of the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Interoperable Rail System) Regulation 2008. Fred Kerr's book chronicles their contribution, during their years of service, to the operation of railway services, many of which would otherwise have been closed without the availability of the cheap and cheerful Pacer trainsets. As they enter their final years of service, this album celebrates the many services that have been operated, the builders who supplied them and the operators who have used them on their services throughout the years.
Fred Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1948 where he gained an interest in railway locomotives from both the LMSR and LNER companies whose services permeated the local network. When his parents moved to Corby in 1956 the interest in railway locomotives expanded with the experience of industrial locomotives operating in the nearby steelworks. Throughout the years since, Fred has continued his interest in railway motive power hence his interest in the operation of the Pacer trainsets which were introduced to service during the 1980s. That interest is reflected in this album, which illustrates images from his extensive photography collection.