THE first of Northern’s 'outdated and uncomfortable' Pacer trains has been retired after travelling more than three million miles in 32 years of service.

The train – unit 142005 – entered service on February 20, 1987 and bowed out on Monday after completing its final day of operation.

The entire Pacer fleet, some of which are used on routes across Cumbria, are expected to be removed from service by the end of next year.

It comes as Northern introduces more of the 101 new trains on order.

So far, a total of 15 state-of-the-art trains are already in service.

An additional £80m investment is also being made to refurbish and improve the quality of Northern’s remaining fleet.

As more new trains come into service, the Pacers will start to be retired from the Northern network on a phased basis over the coming months.

The new trains are being introduced on longer-distance routes, allowing existing trains on those routes to be redeployed and replace the retiring Pacers.

David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, helped bid farewell to the retiring Pacer on its last day of service.

He said: "Passengers won’t be sorry to see these outdated and uncomfortable trains depart for retirement.

"Pacers have become a potent symbol for the need to invest in better transport infrastructure across the North.

"Their replacements cannot arrive too soon, though it’s now equally important that the railway improves punctuality and reliability of services, so passengers see every possible benefit from each new train.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the retirement of the fleet is a 'milestone moment' for passengers.

He added: “I am delighted to see the start of the Pacer trains retiring from the Northern network. This is a milestone moment for passengers in the north, as part of our commitment to delivering more comfortable, frequent and reliable journeys.

“We are now starting to see brand new, comfortable, modern trains in their place, alongside the 2,000 extra services a week that have already been delivered.”

In addition to the Pacer that retired on Monday, Northern say a further six are being taken out of daily service this week and will be stored at one of their depots.

They will be maintained so they could be made available to use if required in exceptional circumstances, such as for special events.