Rail passengers are confronted with “considerable” disruptions in the entire network, as a number of high-speed trains are checked as a precautionary measure after cracks are found.
The Great Western Railway (GWR), Hull Trains, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and TransPennine Express (TPE) trains of the Hitachi 800 model were taken out of service on Saturday morning due to “security checks as a precaution”.
GWR has warned that the problem could also affect Sunday services.
Hitachi Rail apologized for the disturbance caused.
A spokesman said: “We are working with all partners to resolve this problem as quickly and safely as possible.
“We sincerely apologize to passengers for the impact this may have on their travel plans.”
According to GWR, cracks were found in “more than one” Hitachi 800 train, so that all 93 Hitachi 800s in their fleet are being inspected as a precautionary measure.
A spokesman said: “A crack has been discovered and as a result we are checking all the trains as a precaution. Meanwhile, it is better to not use them.”
“It was found on more than one train, but we don’t know exactly how many trains there are as the fleet is still under inspection.”
When asked how long the disruption will last, the GWR spokesman said, “It is a question of how quickly the trains can be inspected – it is very likely that they will persist until the end of today.”
“Once more inspections are done, we will have a better understanding of whether this disruption will continue until tomorrow.”
The spokesman added that the problem concerns long-distance travel between cities that are reimbursed, but GWR services in suburbs and rural areas continue to function normally.
In the meantime, all LNER services between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and London have been suspended and the operator has advised customers not to travel while Hull Trains has asked passengers to check beforehand.
LNER tweeted: “Once the trains have been checked, they will be back in service as soon as possible. Please check before you travel. “
Hull Trains tweeted, “This issue is being investigated by Hitachi. Once the trains have been inspected, we hope to be able to get them back into service as soon as possible.”
“This could affect a significant number of our services and passengers should verify this before traveling.”
TPE said its Nova 1 trains are affected by the issue and are under review.
In a statement, a TPE spokesperson said, “This issue is being investigated by the train manufacturer. Once the trains have been checked, we hope to be able to get them back into service as soon as possible.
“This will affect a significant number of services on our Newcastle to Liverpool route and we advise customers not to use this route today.”
Mick Lynch, General Secretary of Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, said: “RMT is fully aware of the problems that have resulted in the suspension of services on LNER today and that similar problems with rupture of the fleet are emerging on Great Westerns.
“Hitachi needs to maintain the highest security standards and properly investigate and fix problems.”
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said passengers should not be charged additional costs for repairs in the future.
“It is good news that the railway engineering staff found these cracks before they resulted in an accident,” he said.
“This rolling stock may only be put back into operation when we are 100% sure that these trains are safe.
“It is important to note that the trains affected are relatively new. In this case, manufacturers should bear the costs of repairs, not passengers or taxpayers.”