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Great Western and London North Eastern Railway services cancelled after cracks found on high-speed trains

Written by on 8 May 2021

The UK’s rail network has been hit by major disruption today after cracks were found on high-speed trains.

Great Western Railway (GWR) said dozens of Hitachi 800 series trains across several operators have been taken out of service “for checks as a precautionary measure”.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Hull Trains and TransPennine Express (TPE) have also been affected.

London North Eastern Railway and Great Western Railway are affected by the disruption Image: London North Eastern Railway is also affected by the disruption. File pic

A GWR spokesperson told Sky News there have been reports of “hairline cracks on the suspension” of some trains but insisted the issue “doesn’t affect the structural integrity of the carriage”.

“It’s been found in more than one train, but we don’t know exactly how many trains because the fleet is still being inspected,” the spokesperson added.

All 93 Hitachi 800s in GWR’s fleet are now being inspected as a precaution and disruption could continue into Sunday, according to the company.

“This problem is being investigated by Hitachi and once trains have been checked, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.

GWR said “there will be significant disruption across the network today” and services running to and from London’s Paddington Station have been cancelled.

The train operator said there is currently no high-speed service on routes between London and Bristol, Swansea, Penzance, Hereford and Cheltenham.

A GWR (Great Western Railway) train arrives at a platform at Bristol Temple Meads station in Bristol. Image: GWR said all 93 Hitachi 800s in its fleet are being inspected as a precaution. File pic

The company added that there would be “only an extremely limited service with no alternative means of transport available” for those routes.

An LNER spokesperson told Sky News the problem with the Hitachi trains was identified overnight.

The company warned passengers on Saturday “please do not travel” as services have been delayed and cancelled.

It means limited to no service on the East Coast, between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and London.

Tickets for journeys today will be valid up to Sunday 16 May, LNER added.

Hull Trains said services across its whole network may be cancelled, with disruption expected until the end of the day.

TPE said its Nova 1 trains had been affected by the issue and were being checked. It has advised passengers not to travel on its services between Newcastle and Liverpool on Saturday.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said Hitachi “needs to ensure the highest safety standards and properly investigate and rectify the issues”.

The UK’s fleet of Hitachi 800 trains entered service in 2017, with the company saying the design was “highly appreciated for its symbolic image as the fastest high-speed train in the UK at the time”.