Sunday 28 February 2016

Northern Rail - A Success Story

Ah, those sunny days back in June 2004. Britney Spears was top of the pops (we must point out no association is made with the television program of the same name) and the good people at Serco-Abellio had been handed the crumbs plum new Northern Franchise.

So began 'Northern Rail' and times were good. Results were excellent, but there was one overriding problem that poor old Northern couldn't get past.


They got the Pacers. In fact they only got a few Pacers out of a whole rancid collection of them.

Like all shaky turd wagons, someone had to shine the light for this traction. That fell to Northern Rail. 'Brunel's Finest' First Great Western had bigger problems on its hands, such as being overall bloody awful.

Now there will always be an ironic hero who campaigns to sing the praises of the Pacer. They are the anti-hero stood on street corners shouting at passers-by that you have 'great banter'. That wears thin, normally after you board a crammed Pacer heading to the depths of Huddersfield.

Pacers are shite. No irony needed. They are shite.

So now the powers that be at Northern are forced to unceremoniously remove their name from this classic traction, tear off the logos from the decrepit mobile shaky toilets and bounce off into the sunset. Can we celebrate them as having made a job well done?

It is fair to say they've had a rough ride (Pacer Puns are too easy) but after a good start it is fair to say things turned sour. Their own government, who awarded Serco-Abellio the contract, turned on the Motive Power they gave to Serco-Abellio. 'Remove Pacers Now' was the cry, remove this symbol of decrepit and lacklustre investment in our own railways. Pot, Kettle, Black from the Government.

Serco-Abellio have now split up. Serco made a huffed approach for the Northern Franchise against its old mate Abellio. Neither won. They now both have to face each other at the pub and make small talk, they will no doubt share a bag of Scampi Fries and talk about old times.

For all the good that Serco-Abellio put into Northern, it will always be overshadowed by the Pacers that are dragging down the 'Northern Powerhouse'.

Will Arriva face the same plunge of popularity taking on the Pacers? Time will tell, New Motive Power will tell.

But, as Northern head off into the Barrow Sunset, they can think themselves lucky. At least they're not bloody Hull Trains.

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