High-speed rail services cancelled after cracks found

Services on two of the country’s busiest railways are facing severe disruption after cracks were spotted on some high-speed trains.

Most Great Western Main Line trains to and from London Paddington have been cancelled.

London North Eastern Railways is asking passengers not to travel on the East Coast Main Line today.

Hitachi has apologised after hairline cracks were found in the suspension units of some of its 800 series trains.

Some of the trains have been taken out of service as a “precautionary measure to allow for thorough investigations”, the company said, adding it was working to resolve the 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.”

Hull Trains and TransPennine Express services are also affected by the problem.

Passengers have been advised to check train operators’ websites before travelling.

Your questions on new high-speed trains

All high-speed Great Western Railway services between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Penzance have been cancelled and customers are advised not to attempt to travel today.

Its passengers can use their tickets on the following operators’ services:

Avanti West Coast trains between Birmingham New Street and London Euston
London Northwestern Railway trains between Birmingham New Street and London Euston
West Midlands Railway trains between Hereford/Worcester and Birmingham New Street

The disruption to LNER trains means there will be limited to no service on the East Coast – between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and London.

LNER passengers can use their tickets on the following services:

Avanti West Coast between London Euston and Manchester for customers with an open ticket
TransPennine Express between Manchester, Leeds and York
East Midlands Railway between London St Pancras International and Sheffield
Northern services between Sheffield, Leeds and York and via any other “reasonable” route
Thameslink services between London, Stevenage and Peterborough

LNER said affected customers’ tickets will be valid up to and including Sunday 16 May, though a new reservation would need to be made.

A spokesman for Hull Trains said once trains had been checked it was hoped they could be placed back in service “as soon as possible”.

The operator warned a significant number of its services could be affected and urged passengers to check before travelling.
Hitachi 800 train at Paddington railway stationimage copyrightGetty Images
image captionHitachi 800 trains entered service in 2017

The fleet of Hitachi 800 trains entered service in 2017 and was designed to be electric, but engines were also fitted with diesel power because of delays with railway electrification.

Last month, six of the trains were taken out of service by GWR after hairline cracks were found in the suspension system during routine maintenance.

The trains were made at the Hitachi factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

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