Grant Shapps has come under fire for his “patronising contempt for northern England” after the transport secretary’s attempts to publicise Pacer trains’ last stop fell flat on social media.
The Conservatives have been under pressure to deliver for their new northern supporters after taking ‘red wall’ constituencies from Labour in the 2019 General Election.
Shapps showed how the government was ‘levelling up’ through turning retired Pacer trains into repurposed kitchens, support centres and even classrooms “serving northern communities”.
Pacer trains have become a symbol of England’s north-south divide in recent years with the ageing railbuses staying in service in northern England long after their intended 20-year lifespan.
As #GreatBritishRailways marks a new era for our railways, we've put retired Pacer trains to new uses serving Northern communities:
????A family support centre at a hospital
????A kitchen for a mental health charity
????A new classroom for kids
The last one was delivered yesterday???? pic.twitter.com/HacZLwmrJX
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 6, 2021
Shapps tweeted: “As #GreatBritishRailways marks a new era for our railways, we’ve put retired Pacer trains to new uses serving Northern communities: A family support centre at a hospital, A kitchen for a mental health charity, A new classroom for kids.”