Community groups in the North of England can now submit their plans on how to renovate retiring Pacer train carriages.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced the scheme earlier this year, and argues that instead of scrapping the trains they could be converted into community assets.
The DfT officially launched its Pacer competition yesterday at Bolton Station.
School children from St. Catherine’s Primary School in Bolton were among the first to pitch ideas such a ‘time traveller train’, a museum and classroom where people could learn about the history of Bolton.
Rail minister, Andrew Jones, said: “The energy and ideas shown by the children today has been really creative and fun, providing some brilliant examples of how the Pacers could play a new, exciting role in our communities.
“The Pacer trains have been carrying passengers for over 30 years, but they have outstayed their welcome and are being replaced by modern trains and extra services, creating space for thousands more passengers.
“This competition is now open for ideas, and I look forward seeing a host of exciting proposals to provide them with a new home off the tracks.”
After more than thirty years of passenger service, Pacers are being retired from the rail network to make way for a new fleet of Northern trains.
The rail company has stated its ambitious aims to retire all Pacer trains by the end of the year.
Rolling stock companies are supporting the competition by making Pacer carriages available to be converted to serve communities in a new way off the rail network.
DfT is encouraging community groups to submit creative and innovative ideas for converting these carriages over the summer.
The competition will run until the end of September and a judging panel will pick the winners, which are set to be announced towards the end of the year.