Class 142: The Bus That Became a Train

Author(s): Martyn Hilbert 

ISBN: 9781781558232
Copies: 168
A glorious celebration of the BR Class 142 Pacer train fleet in words and striking colour pictures.

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  • A unique photographic narrative with unpublished colour images

  • An in-depth and exhaustive examination on how the 142s were maintained, serviced and operated

  • Detailed coverage of the various interior fittings and layouts

  • Superbly written and researched, this is essential for the historian, train enthusiast and modeller

  • A review of scale 142 Pacer models produced is included

The British Rail Class 142 Pacer was an attempt to produce a cost-effective train to replace the worn-out and elderly first-generation BR Diesel Multiple Unit fleet that had been introduced in the late 1950s.

The Class 142 concept was a marriage of proven bus technology, traditional railway chassis and powertrain by utilising modular Leyland National Bus Bodies mounted on a substantial steel underframe and powered by conventional underfloor diesel engines.

They came at a time when the network was lacking in investment, and when first introduced from 1985 onwards, they presented a fresh, bright and clean image, breathing new life into many suburban and rural services. Unfortunately, soon after introduction, there were serious reliability problems, which necessitated much re-engineering and design issues.

However, the British Rail Class 142 Pacer became a familiar sight across the network. With the remaining ninety-four trains now all past their thirtieth birthday, the fleet is due to be retired by 2020.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558232
FORMAT 235 x 165 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 96 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 01 December 2020
ILLUSTRATIONS 141 colour photographs



An avid railway enthusiast for many years, Martyn Hilbert has spent much time and effort recording the UK railway network from the 1970s to the present day. This has resulted in a large photographic archive backed-up by detailed records and notes that chronicle the many changes that the railway system has undergone in the last forty years. Still active with the camera and recording the current scene before it all becomes history, Network North West: Images of a Changing Railway is his second book published by Fonthill Media.