United Kingdom

Great Western Railway and London North Eastern Railway trains cancelled – ‘Don’t travel’

Passengers have been urged not to travel while urgent inspections are carried out across the two operators’ fleets. It comes after hairline cracks were discovered in several of its high-speed trains.

Hull Trains are also experiencing “major disruption”.

National Rail Enquiries also confirmed that some trains for TransPennine Express had been taken out of service for safety checks.

Writing on Twitter, it added: “Once trains have been checked, they will be released back into service as soon as possible.”

Its optimistic assessment of the extent of the disruption wasn’t shared by everyone.

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“There will be disruption for quite a time,” he said.

The inspections were ordered after GWR confirmed that it found cracks in two of its Hitachi 800 trains during routine maintenance.

This has led it to inspect all trains of this model.

LNER, which operates the East Coast Mainline, is also facing similar problems.

This led the operator to advise customers not to travel today after all high-speed GWR services between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Penzance have been cancelled.

LNER is also advising its customers not to attempt to travel.

A GWR statement said: “Due to some of our Intercity Express Trains being withdrawn from service for precautionary checks, there will be network wide disruption to services today. Please check before you travel.”

LNER said: “We are experiencing significant disruption. Please do not travel today. Your tickets will be valid up to and including Sunday 16 May 2021 (a new reservation must be made).

“If you choose not to travel at all, you can claim a refund from your point of purchase.”

Last month, a crack of “substantial depth” was found during an inspection on a carriage of one of GWR’s new Intercity trains of the Hitachi 800 model.

The Railway Gazette said that further cracks were found in equipment designed to prevent the train from swaying in eight out of 93 trains in the fleet.

Mr Ford explained that it looked like a case of metal fatigue affecting a bracket device that helps stabilise the train.

“They discovered in April hairline cracks on some trains […] sort of 15 millimetres deep, and they’ve taken them out of service for repair. But it now looks as though there is more concern about this than we thought at the time,” he said.

“It’s not a major safety issue but obviously metal fatigue gets worse, the cracks get deeper and the bracket could fracture, but in my judgment that would be a fair way away.”

Mr Ford added that this wasn’t a problem solely affecting Hitachi.

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