UK-based rail operator Northern has retired the first unit from its fleet of Pacer trains, which have been operating for nearly three decades.

Unit number 142005 made its final trip carrying Northern customers between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.

The vehicle entered service on 20 February 1987 and is said to have travelled more than three million miles in 32 years.

Manufactured in the 1980s, the Pacer trains are diesel multiple-unit railbuses designed for short-distance passenger services.

These vehicles do not comply with the latest disability regulations that will become effective next year. The regulation requires Northern to withdraw its whole Pacer fleet by the end of 2019.

The Pacer trains were also criticised for its outdated design and for being less comfortable compared to similar trains.

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By GlobalData

However, according to a Guardian report last month, the train operator is in discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT) to continue operating some Pacer trains for an additional year.

It sought the extension due to technical issues identified with the replacement vehicles.

Northern will replace the Pacer fleet will new trains from CAF.

Last month, the Arriva UK Trains subsidiary introduced the first nine CAF trains into service. These vehicles will operate across routes between Doncaster and Leeds, Cumbria and Manchester Airport, and Liverpool to Manchester Airport.

Under a £500m rolling stock investment plan, Northern will introduce 101 such trains into service.

The new trains are equipped with air-conditioning, at-seat power outlets, free wi-fi, and customer information/media screens with real-time information.