RAIL chiefs have admitted they have concerns over safety of trains used on some local services in and out of Huddersfield.
The Pacer trains, pictured, are extensively used on the network, particularly between Huddersfield and Leeds on the stopping service and on the Penistone Line.
Now the Office of Rail Regulation has expressed concern that some are past their life expectancy and could pose a risk.
Northern Rail, who lease the units for many of their services, insist there is not a serious problem.
Spokesman Carolyn Watson said: “Pacer trains have a good safety record and they, along with all the other types of train Northern operates, are subject to strict regular safety and maintenance checks.
“With the renewal processes that we have also undertaken, the mechanics of all these trains are no more than five years old.
“We have a safety certificate which embraces all operation and maintenance of our fleet of trains and this is awarded by the safety regulator, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
“While the ORR is right to question the use of any train beyond its ‘intended design life’ this is still some way off for the Pacer fleet. The trains form a large part of our fleet and carry thousands of passengers safely to home, work and leisure opportunities every day.
“The rail industry is being tasked to deliver 30% cost efficiencies over the next few years and rail travel in the north of England is already subsidised. As new trains will cost considerably more than Pacers the challenge for the industry will be how these would be funded.”
They were built as a stop-gap in the 1980s with an expected life of no more than 20 years, but are now 25 years old.