England

Plan for old London trains in North attacked by union

The London Underground train which is being refurbished
Image caption The London Underground trains designed in 1978 were heading for scrap

Proposals to run old London Underground trains on routes in northern England would see travellers getting the South's "cast offs", a union has said.

Refitted District Line carriages are being offered as an affordable way to replace ageing Pacer trains.

Firm Vivarail, behind the plan, said it was in talks with rail operators competing for the northern franchise.

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said it did not want second hand trains on the northern network.

Pacer trains were built in the 1980s and were originally intended as a short-term solution to a shortage of rolling stock, but remain in use today.

The London Underground trains designed in 1978 were heading for scrap but have been bought by the rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail.

Extra seats vow

The company said the refurbished trains would be a "step forward" from the Pacer and were affordable because the body shells could be reused.

Adrian Shooter, from Vivarail, said: "We're keeping the basic body shell to which will be added modern state of the art traction, braking equipment, engine and other transmission."

Mr Shooter said the trains were a third cheaper than new ones and bringing them north would provide extra seats.

He said they would work well on many routes, including services from Huddersfield to Leeds and Leeds to Morecambe.

Micky Thompson, RMT regional organiser, said: "Why should people in the North be disbenefited by inheriting 35-year-old rolling stock.

"If they want a modern railway that delivers what is supposed to do, let's see a level of investment the same that's emulated in the South of the country."

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