POLITICIANS in the North have called for rail operator Northern to compensate customers of its outdated pacer trains.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis and Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said fares should be reduced on routes served by the pacer trains which, it was revealed, will carry on running next year despite the rail operator saying the old-fashioned rolling stock would be gone by the end of 2019.

Mr Burnham said: "As we are forced into accepting the temporary retention of pacers, we expect you to commit, as a matter of urgency, to appropriate financial compensation to the passengers affected."

Mr Jarvis said the situation showed the widening gulf of transport spend between the North and the South-East England, and that passengers were being treated as second class citizens.

Pacers were built between 1980 and 1987 and were intended as a short-term solution to a shortage of trains. They were supposed to have a lifespan of 20 years and were made from modified bus bodies, reaching an average speed of just 35mph.

In 2015, the Government said all pacers should be taken off the tracks by the start of 2020 and suggested the retired wagons could be turned into village halls and cafes.

Northern has begun introducing 101 new trains worth £500m. The first batch started carrying passengers this summer.

A spokesman for Northern said: “As a result of further delays in the construction and delivery of our new trains from manufacturer CAF, a small number of pacer units will need to be retained for a short period of time in 2020 to deliver the planned daily timetable with the right capacity for our customers. This situation is not unique to Northern.

“We understand that customers will be disappointed and we are finalising proposals for customer support and offers for customers on those routes on which pacer will be used in 2020.

“From Monday, October 21, we will have 29 of our 101 new trains in service for customers and a further 27 new trains are in final testing or being used for driver training."