A PACER train carriage is making tracks for a new home – Airedale Hospital!
The Steeton hospital is among three organisations in the north of England to win one of the carriages, for community use, in a Government competition.
Pacer trains have been a familiar sight on the Airedale line – and other parts of the rail network – for years, but are now being ‘retired’.
Seventeen shortlisted groups vied to win one of the redundant carriages and winners were announced on the BBC’s One Show programme.
Airedale Hospital plans to transform its carriage into a mixed-use, non-clinical space to improve experiences for various patient groups.
There will be a particular focus on helping children and families, and patients with dementia.
The carriage – which will be sited near the children’s unit – will serve purposes including a dining and social space, education facilities and involvement activities with community groups.
Airedale NHS Foundation Trust fundraising manager, Jodie Hearnshaw, who submitted the competition entry, said the carriage would be “an amazing asset”.
“It will give us endless opportunities to provide an excellent patient experience,” she added.
“Our plans for using this brilliant multi-purpose space include our children’s unit, our dementia patients, youth volunteers and the community.
“We plan to involve our patients, employees and the community in the renovation of the carriage to enable us to utilise the space and we’re asking anyone who would like to be involved to get in touch.”
The trust’s chief executive, Brendan Brown, described the win as “fantastic news” – especially in the year the hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary.
“It’s also good news that the project is sustainable – a great way to re-purpose old rolling stock to the benefit of our patients and the local community,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the carriage arrive – it will be an incredible sight.
“We’re always looking for creative ways to improve the experience of our patients and the carriage will absolutely deliver that. We are extremely grateful to the judges for selecting us amongst other worthy winners.”
Also successful were Fagley Primary School in Bradford and Platform 1, a Huddersfield charity.