All high-speed Great Western Railway (GWR) services between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Penzance were cancelled and customers advised not to attempt to travel yesterday. The operator has warned passengers to expect delays to services today too. London North Eastern Railways (LNER) said all of its services were disrupted on the East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and London. It also asked passengers not to travel yesterday.
Hull Trains and TransPennine Express (TPE) services were also affected by the problem.
Hitachi has apologised after the hairline cracks were found in the suspension units of its 800 series trains.
The manufacturer said it was working to resolve the issue as quickly and safely as possible, adding: “We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to passengers for the impact this may be having on their travel plans.”
A spokesman for GWR said cracks were detected on a number of Hitachi 800 trains, so all 93 in its fleet were taken out of service to be inspected as a precaution.
He said: “It’s been found in more than one train, but we don’t know exactly how many because the fleet is still being inspected.”
The spokesman added that the issue was affecting long-distance journeys, with tickets being refunded, but suburban and rural services were still running.
LNER said affected customers’ tickets will be valid until next Sunday, but added that new reservations would need to be made.
Hull Trains said services were back to normal by yesterday afternoon but warned the disruption would mean all trains were “extremely busy”.
TPE said its Nova 1 trains had been affected by the issue and were being checked. Its spokesman said: “This problem is being investigated by the train manufacturer and, once trains have been checked, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible. This will affect a significant number of services on our Newcastle to Liverpool route.”
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association union, said: “This rolling stock must not be allowed back into service until we are 100 percent certain these trains are safe.”
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said routine checks revealed cracks in the chassis of the trains.
He said: “Safety is always our absolute priority, so these trains have been taken off the network to undergo full and rigorous checks.
“While some trains are starting to be reintroduced, disruption is likely for a prolonged period.”