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Major travel disruption on UK rail network after cracks found on high-speed trains
8 May 2021, 09:52 | Updated: 9 May 2021, 09:52
Dozens of rail services across the UK have been cancelled or delayed after cracks were found on trains used by a number of railway companies.
Passengers across Britain have been affected after a number of high-speed trains had to be taken out of service as a "precautionary measure".
Rail disruption is expected to continue throughout the weekend.
The Rail Delivery Group said some Great Western Railway (GWR), Hull Trains, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and TransPennine Express (TPE) trains of the Hitachi 800 model had been halted for safety checks.
National Rail tweeted: "Once trains have been checked, they will be released back into service as soon as possible. Please check before travel."
Both GWR and LNER advised customers not to travel, while Hull Trains asked passengers to check before doing so.
TPE advised customers not to use the Newcastle to Liverpool route on Saturday.
⚠️Due to a number of Intercity Express Trains taken out of service for precautionary checks, there will be significant disruption across the network today— Great Western Railway (@GWRHelp) May 8, 2021
Customers are advised not to travel
Full Refunds will be provided
Visit https://t.co/xAlpVpXwKm for more information
It comes after cracks were found on "more than one" Hitachi 800 train, GWR later confirmed.
A spokesperson for the rail company said a crack was spotted in multiple trains which they operate, so all 93 Hitachi 800s in their fleet are now being inspected as a "precaution".
The spokesperson said: "There's a crack that's been spotted and as a result of that - as a precaution - we're checking all the trains, and while that's taking place it's better that they're not used.
"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 that the issue is affecting long-distance journeys between cities, but that suburban and rural GWR services are still running as normal.
Hitachi Rail has apologised for the disruption caused.
A spokesman said: "We are working with all partners to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible. We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to passengers for the impact this may be causing for their travel plans."
⚠️ #LNERUpdate Due to a problem under investigation, services route wide are subject to delays and cancellations. Please DO NOT TRAVEL, tickets will be valid up to and including Sunday 16th May 2021 (a new reservation MUST be made). pic.twitter.com/d0RboKh2pK— London North Eastern Railway (@LNER) May 8, 2021
National Rail Enquiries tweeted: "Once trains have been checked, they will be released back into service as soon as possible."
Services in and out of London Paddington have been suspended while all of GWR's inter-city trains are being checked as a precaution.
In a statement on its website, GWR said: "A number of Class 800 series Hitachi trains from several train companies have been taken out of service this morning for checks as a precautionary measure.
"As a result we have had to cancel a significant number of long distance train services to and from Paddington, and while local services are running, we expect them to be very busy.
"This problem is being investigated by Hitachi and once trains have been checked and cleared, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible.
"Customers are advised not to travel. Refunds will be provided."
⚠️Disruption to TransPennine Express services between Liverpool and Newcastle / Edinburgh expected until the end of the day ⚠️— National Rail (@nationalrailenq) May 8, 2021
Hull Trains said a number of Class 800 series Hitachi trains from several train companies had been taken out of service for checks "as a precautionary measure".
"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," it tweeted.
"This could affect a significant number of our services and passengers should check before they travel."
The firm later said their services are back running as normal following thorough checks by Hitachi on its fleet of Class 800 series trains.
In a tweet, LNER said: "A number of Class 800 series Hitachi trains from several train companies have been taken out of service today for checks as a precautionary measure.
"This is being investigated by Hitachi and once trains have been checked, we hope to be able to release them back into service ASAP."
TPE said its Nova 1 trains had been affected by the issue and were being checked.
⚠️⚠️Some GWR, Hull Trains, LNER and TPE trains have been taken out of service today for safety checks as a precautionary measure. Once trains have been checked, they will be released back into service as soon as possible. Please check before travel. https://t.co/iAeX1MOboK⚠️⚠️— National Rail (@nationalrailenq) May 8, 2021
In a statement, a TPE spokesman said: "This problem is being investigated by the train manufacturer and once trains have been checked, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible.
"This will affect a significant number of services on our Newcastle to Liverpool route and we are advising customers not to travel on this route today."
Rail union RMT's general secretary Mick Lynch said: "RMT is fully aware of the issues that have led to the cancellation of services on LNER today and that similar problems with cracks appearing in the fleet on Great Western are also emerging.
"Hitachi needs to ensure the highest safety standards and properly investigate and rectify the issues.
"This situation demonstrates once again that it is reckless for the rail companies and the Department for Transport to move the industry to diluted, risk-based maintenance regimes which extends maintenance cycles on rolling stock or on the infrastructure, whether that be on the mainline railway or on the tube and metro services, to cut costs and strip out staff.
"The railway needs to be maintained rigorously and to the highest possible standards to protect the travelling public and the staff and that will remain RMT's key demand."