What’s in the Shops: Dapol’s N-gauge ‘Pacer’ emerges at last

One of the more unusual models to appear in the shops recently has been the Dapol N-gauge Class 142 ‘Pacer’, which is offered in a variety of body shell combinations. Nigel Burkin brings this review.

Modellers had to wait seven years for Dapol to complete and release its N-gauge model of the now increasingly iconic Class 142 ‘Pacer’. They were introduced in 1985 as a replacement for conventional first-generation DMUs.

Many travellers feel that the 96 two-car railbuses are now long past their use-by date, and their continued use on services for which they are clearly not suitable has done little to endear them to the travelling public. The writing is now on the wall for the Class 142 (along with the Class 143 and 144 railbuses) with withdrawal at the end of 2019 likely as new and rebuilt trains come on stream cascading stock to lines currently worked by ‘Pacers’.

Constructed using Leyland bus bodies on a rigid underframe fabricated at Derby, the Class 142 was a cheap and cheerful train built at a time when railway finances were far from healthy. They were allocated to lightly-used lines in England and Wales, including West Country branch lines on which they performed particularly badly.

Underpowered, and with a tendency for rough riding on jointed track (which incidentally was common on the lines for which they were built), the Class 142 gained the nickname ‘Nodding Donkey’ thanks to their up and down motion on poor track.

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