Rail passengers are being urged not to travel after a number of high-speed trains were taken out of service after ‘cracks were found’.
LNER trains serving Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow have been affected by the issue on Saturday, with some services delayed or cancelled.
The Class 800 Hitachi trains were taken out of service as a “precautionary measure”.
Network Rail said some 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.
Great Western Railway 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”.
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.
A LNER spokesperson 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 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.
“This could affect a significant number of our services and passengers are advised not to travel today.”
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, 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.”
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said passengers should not be charged extra in future to pay for repairs.
“It’s welcome news that railway engineering staff have found these cracks before they led to an accident,” he said.
“This rolling stock must not be allowed back into service until we are 100% certain these trains are safe.
“It’s important to point out that the affected trains are relatively new, in which case the manufacturers should foot the bill for any repairs, not passengers or taxpayers.”
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.”
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