RAIL firm Northern has claimed “some routes are not suitable for its new trains” after it was criticised for revealing they won’t in fact replace its decrepit Pacer trains.

Instead refurbished units will replace the Pacer which is used on a number of Tees Valley routes by Northern.

Middlesbrough MP and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said the refurbished units amounted to “cast offs” from the old British Rail days.

And Redcar MP Anna Turley said it was “insulting” that the region was missing out on modern transport.

The Northern Echo repeatedly pressed Northern’s parent firm Arriva in order to determine the criteria it was using to decide which areas would get the new class 331 electric trains and which would be left with refurbished stock.

The Echo also asked why it was the diesel powered Pacers – which are more than 30 years old and have been described by the RMT rail union as “lashed up”, consisting of a bus body welded to a train chassis – were not first in line to be replaced by the new trains.

A spokesman for Northern replied: “We are still working to determine which routes across our network will see new trains when they are introduced.

“However, some routes are not suitable for the new trains due to line speeds and potential issues with other lines and operators.

“With more than 2,500 services each day – and 98 new units – it would be impossible for every route to be served by one of our new trains.”

The spokesman said fully refurbished class 156 and 158 ‘Super Sprinter’ trains set to replace the Pacers would be “better than the best train we currently operate”.

He said: “These upgraded trains will replace the Pacers across the north east of England – as they are also doing in other regions – with all Pacers removed from the Northern network by the end of 2019.”

Northern’s new trains, which have been built in Spain by manufacturer CAF and are capable of 100mph speeds, have been described as a “landmark moment” for the franchise.

They will be introduced on the network from December.

Mr McDonald said: “That we are to receive second-hand trains instead of the new rolling stock we expected is a symbol of the Government’s neglect of Northern transport.

“I can understand why people are really disappointed. We’ve had the Pacers for far too long, they are way past their sell-by date.

“At the same time there is all this new rolling stock coming onto the Northern network, but we aren’t going to get them, we are going to get refurbished, old British Rail trains.

“We do sometimes wonder why with some justification why it is we have to have others cast offs before any new investment is made in a territory like ours?”

Redcar MP, Anna Turley said: “The question people will rightly be asking is why Teesside is only being given second class upgrades, and not the modern trains we have been deprived of for so long. “Our needs are just as great as the rest of the Northern region and we have had to put up with Pacer trains longer than most. It’s insulting that we will be missing out on modern rail transport.”