POLITICIANS have demanded that Northern Rail compensate passengers who are forced to use its ‘outdated’ trains.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake and Sheffield City region mayor Dan Jarvis have signed a letter sent to the operator’s managing director calling for a reduction to fares on routes where the old pacer trains are still being used.

In the letter, the trio expressed their ‘deep disappointment and frustration’ that these trains will continue to be used into next year.

Pacer trains were first introduced in the early 1980s as a stop-gap solution to a lack of rolling stock.

Mr Jarvis said the current arrangement was ‘another example of rail passengers in the north being treated like second-class citizens’.

He added: “It's unacceptable that people will have to continue to travel on these relics, which should have been consigned to a transport museum long ago.

“A reduction in fares on affected routes, throughout the period that passengers have to travel on what are essentially buses on rails, is the very least that could be done.”

Ms Blake said: “The withdrawal of pacers was one of the centrepiece commitments made in the Northern franchise.

“The fact they will still be running in 2020 is symbolic of the broader issues with this franchise, which continues to deliver an unacceptable level of service to passengers.”

Last week, transport secretary Grant Shapps took the first step towards potentially stripping Northern Rail of its franchise.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons' Transport Select Committee, he told members that the level of service currently provided ‘cannot continue’.

Mr Shapps added: “I entirely believe we cannot carry on just thinking it's ok for trains not to arrive or Sunday services not being in place.

“That simply has to change.”