Rail passengers warned of disruption ‘into next week’ after train cracks found
Written by Hitmix News on 9 May 2021
Disruption on the UK’s rail network is set to continue “well into next week” after cracks were found on high-speed trains.
Great Western Railway (GWR) said just 10% of its long-distance service is running, a day after dozens of Hitachi 800 series trains had to be pulled from lines.
Hairline cracks were spotted on some of the trains during routine checks on Saturday morning, causing widespread delays and cancellations.
Image: London North Eastern Railway advised passengers not to travel on Sunday
GWR, London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Hull Trains and TransPennine Express (TPE) were all affected on Saturday.
GWR spokesman Dan Panes told Sky News: “There is going to be an impact of services, certainly tomorrow (Monday), and probably into the rest of next week but the level of that disruption we don’t yet know.”
Mr Panes said “a couple of small cracks” had been found on some trains at the lifting points used for maintenance on the underside of the carriages.
He added that 12 of GWR’s 93 Hitachi 800 trains are now back in service after they were cleared following checks.
“They’ve all been individually inspected and for the railway industry safety is the highest priority – we’re not going to be running trains that haven’t been checked and cleared for service,” Mr Panes said.
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said on Saturday that disruption was “likely for a prolonged period, particularly on GWR”.
There was no GWR high-speed service on routes between London and Bristol, Swansea, Penzance, Hereford and Cheltenham on Saturday.
The train operator said a “significant number of long-distance services will be cancelled on Sunday” and disruption is expected to continue into the following week.
LNER urged passengers not to travel on Sunday, with services between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, and London affected.
TPE said it was now running a normal service but urged passengers travelling between York and Newcastle to check before they travel “as there may be some knock-on impact”.
Hull Trains said its normal service had resumed by Saturday afternoon.
Hitachi apologised to passengers affected by the disruption.
The company said: “Some Class 800s have been taken out of passenger service as a precautionary measure to allow for thorough investigations.
“We are working with partners to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible. We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to passengers impacted.”
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”.