Hornby Model Railway Locomotive Reviews -
Class 142 "Pacer"
Class 142 "Pacer" (old version - one motor)
Writing this I can already see half
the forum turning in disgust at the mention of the Class 142 and it's Hornby
counterpart. There are however plenty of people who like the "Nodding
Donkey" and would like a review.
(142065 at rest)
My model is an example of the second attempt at a Pacer by Hornby. The
original had a motor in each car and proved to be unreliable a the motors
often ran out of sync. Mine is the later single motor version though it too
has now been superseded by a new DCC fitted model (although this is
restricted to a single livery at present).
Outwardly Hornby's effort is reasonable. The cab ends look the part (but
would benefit from lights). The body sides and roof too are well made and
covered with rivets like the real thing! The only thing I dislike about the
appearance is the interior. It's a one piece beige plastic block with seats
on it that rises up behind the doors on both sides and makes the model look
like someone has been sick enough times to fill the gangways with vomit! The
doors are also double folding type (I'm pretty sure this type of door was a
thing of the past by the time Northern spirit took over and they certainly
are now). Glazing is flush and the livery is well applied with legible
Northern Spirit lettering, running numbers and destination boards reading
"Sunderland" (home sweet home!)
142065 takes on fuel at Octane Vale TMD.
The interior moulding clearly rises
above the doors and makes the floor look ridiculously high.
The under frame is reasonable and looks 142ish. On the rails the model
performs as you'd expect. It rattles, shakes and squeals just like a real
Pacer. While this could be dismissed as "authentic" it stops the model being
reliable. On curves the 142 slows to a crawl if it's at a normal running
speed. This forces the operator to put his foot (or finger) down and power
up on these parts of the Layout, slowing carefully to avoid the sudden burst
of speed when the units reach the next straight! A challenge to drive
perhaps but if you're planning on sitting back and watching you've got
another thing coming!
My 142 runs very jerkily though this is more likely due to lack of track and
The unit's pickups are on both cars and on three axles (the powered axle
being fitted with traction tyres). The pickups should be adequate and are
well spread out but still the model continues to stutter. I can't fault
Hornby's efforts here as there are no more axles to pick up the power from
The coupling between cars is a semi permanent clip which also provides an
electrical connection. It's a nice bit of kit and would benefit many other
types of unit like the Lima/Hornby 156.
Class History -
Liveries produced - Regional
rail grey, Regional rail yellow, Manchester PTE orange, Provincial blue,
Northern Spirit Turquoise (there were some others including a brown/cream
livery and a grey/red one, if anyone can name them I'd be grateful)
* I can't be sure which of these were the one motor type and which were the
earlier two motor.
Available from -
Second hand market
Upgrading the model -
Branchlines do a replacement chassis with new drive and compensation
units. There are also replacement doors available to correct the double
folding ones on the Hornby model which were replaced with two rigid folding
on later liveries. Express models also do a lighting system for every
occasion, DC and DCC!
Running on curves,
- I'd rate this model a 6 out of 10. It's appearance is mostly ok minus the
interior but running really lets it down. Once again I must stress that this
is not Hornby's fault. The real thing has just as many cornering problems
and with just four axles there isn't much room from pickups. Removing the
traction tyres in favour of more pickups would likely make the Pacer a
nightmare on gradients (and it probably already is!).
Branchlines chassis could improve this model but are expensive and I doubt
whether they'd improve things much within the limitations of the long
wheelbase (although I think they do offer flywheels). With some lights,
weathering and maybe even some kadee couplings to model the four car sets
this model might even get a recommended rating. The 142 is nonetheless a
unique unit and a must for modern image!
Class 142 Pacer Pictures:
R2700 Arriva Pacer Class 142
R2611 Mersey Railway Pacer Class 142
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