High-speed rail services are cancelled across UK after hairline cracks are found in Hitachi trains


High-speed rail services have been cancelled across the UK after hairline cracks were found in Hitachi trains.

Hitachi 800 trains used by London North East Railway (LNER), Great Western Railway and Hull Trains have been found with the issue.

Hull Trains said by 1.30pm its normal services had resumed but Great Western Railway, which operates 93 Hitachi 800 trains, warned that the problem could affect tomorrow’s services as well. 

All LNER routes from London Kings Cross to Aberdeen have been cancelled, while Great Western trains in and out of London Paddington are also out of action.

There are currently more than 90 cancelled trains across both rail services as the cracks are being investigated. 

LNER services on the east coast between London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh have been stopped.

And there are no Great Western services between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Penzance.

Hitachi 800 trains used by London North East Railway (LNER), Great Western Railway (pictured) and Hull Trains have been found with cracks, seeing services cancelled across the UK

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said routine checks on Saturday morning revealed cracks in the chassis – the base frame – of the trains, and that some trains have been reintroduced to the rails after being approved in checks by Hitachi.

He said: ‘Safety is always our absolute priority, so these trains have been taken off the network to undergo full and rigorous checks…

‘Whilst some trains are starting to be reintroduced, disruption is likely for a prolonged period, particularly on GWR.

‘I share the frustration of passengers who are experiencing significant disruption, and would ask people whose journeys are affected to check before travelling.’

Mr Heaton-Harris said he has asked operators to deploy extra staff to help passengers complete their journeys and access refunds, and for unaffected providers to help provide alternative routes.

He added: ‘We have also asked the industry to conduct a rapid and comprehensive review to resolve the issue.’

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.’

GWR said cracks were detected on ‘more than one’ Hitachi 800 train, so all 93 Hitachi 800s in their fleet are being inspected as a ‘precaution’.

The company added that ‘roughly 10’ of the Hitachi 800s are now back in service after being inspected and found to be safe.

A spokesman 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.’

Asked how long the disruption will last, the GWR spokesman said: ‘It’s a question of how quickly the trains can be inspected – it’s highly likely that it will certainly persist through to the end of today.

‘Once more inspection has been carried out we’ll have a better understanding as to whether that disruption is going to continue into tomorrow.’

The spokesman added that the issue is affecting long-distance journeys between cities, which are being refunded, but that suburban and rural GWR services are still running as normal. 

LNER services on the east coast between London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh have been stopped

LNER services on the east coast between London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh have been stopped

Great Western Railways 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.’

Open tickets for LNER customers travelling between London Euston and Manchester will be accepted on Avanti West Coast services. 

And people travelling between London and Sheffield can use their LNER tickets on East Midlands Railway services while the issue is being investigated. 

LNER said: ‘We are experiencing significant disruption to our train services due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time.

‘Because of this, we’re advising customers not to travel today.’

Hull Trains said the problem is being investigated by Hitachi and trains will be released back into service ‘as soon as possible’.

A spokesperson said: ‘This could affect a significant number of our services and passengers should check before they travel.’

And TransPennine Express said its Nova 1 trains had been affected by the issue and were being checked.

It advised customers not to use the Newcastle to Liverpool route today. 

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.’

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