While hardly new the class 14x “Pacers” are, to me, something I’d consider to be vehicles (rolling stock) of a modern British railway scene and of the modern stock they’re something I’ll wish I’d seen before they were all retired from regular service. I remember reading about their introduction in a magazine and how appealing their design sounded.
For the model railroader, reality is an endless buffet line and we freely sample only the plates that suit our selfish interests. We owe nothing to the truth or have any journalistic responsibilities. I’ll argue that evidence-based modelling only slows us down and undermines our integrity as artists working in this creative, personal, pursuit. That, however, is a rant for another round and I should probably get back to my Pacer nostaligia. Pacers make me think about my opinion of our model railroader privilege since I continue to maintain my fondness for them. I like the way they look, the way they sound, even their compromise design – a brilliant testimony to austere design and perhaps the most literal interpretation of “railbus” this generation could have. The sound of those diesel engines must have been dreadful in that uninsulated Leyland bus shell and I’ve read so many accounts of their hard ride, when they were still on the rails(!), they must have been miserable in real life but I don’t care since I only need to be amused by them. I don’t drive one so I don’t need to them to be reliable tools of work and I don’t ride in them (haven’t ever and certainly not regularly) so I get to romanticize away all of that hard, cold, loud ride.
Hornby listed a model in OO scale shortly after the 142’s originally entered service and I’d like one someday. Every time I see a reference to the real one or models of them I think I should indulge in more research and I wander over to eBay to see about buying a model. If I remember correctly someone’s even making one in N and that would really suit rather nicely if I can negotiate another model into my collection (i.e. “What don’t I need to make room for the latest thing I want?” These are my rules: two out for every new in.)
An article in Rail Magazine inspired these thoughts, this morning over coffee, with the announcement of Nothern’s updated plans to begin withdrawal and scrapping of their fleet: