Hitachi Rail says a thorough investigation is underway after several Class 800 trains have been taken out of passenger service.
Great Western Railways, Hull Trains, TransPennine and LNER have all been effected, with the latter urging people not to travel today (May 8th).
The RMT union says it is fully aware of the issues that have led to the cancellation of services on LNER and that similar problems with cracks appearing in the fleet on Great Western are also emerging.
In a statement on Saturday, Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Routine checks of Hitachi trains early this morning identified cracks on part of the chassis of some trains. Safety is always our absolute priority, so these trains have been taken off the network to undergo full and rigorous checks.
“Hitachi are working to complete these strict precautionary checks. Trains will be returned to service as quickly as possible once they are fully approved as safe by the manufacturer.
“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.
“I’ve asked operators to ensure extra staff are on hand to help people complete their journeys safely, to increase their communications with passengers, and to make information on refunds and compensation clear.
“I’ve also asked all affected operators – GWR, LNER, Hull Trains and TransPennine Express – to explore all options to ensure they help people complete their journeys. That includes maintaining as many services as possible and providing additional rail replacement services.
“We’re also ensuring ticket acceptances are in place on other operators, who are looking at strengthening their services to provide passengers with alternative ways of completing their journey.
“We have also asked the industry to conduct a rapid and comprehensive review to resolve the issue.”
LNER says: “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. Your tickets dated for travel today, Saturday 8 May, will be valid for travel up to and including, Sunday 16 May.
“We’re doing everything we can to get services up and running again and we’re sorry for any disruption to your journey today.”
Hull Trains says: “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 should check before they travel.”
Great Western Railway says: “Due to a number of Intercity Express Trains taken out of service for precautionary checks, there will be significant disruption across the network today Customers are advised not to travel full refunds will be provided.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch 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.”
Hitachi Rail spokesperson said: “Inspection has identified cracks on the lifting points under the carriage of some Class 800 trains overnight. Safety is our number one priority and as a precaution, the decision was taken to halt the entry into service of our intercity fleets pending inspection.
“We understand the frustration caused and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to passengers and operators.
“Having been cleared for service, some trains are now running again across the network. We are working as quickly and safely as possible to investigate the issue across the remainder of the fleets.”