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May 10, 2021updated 24 Nov 2021 6:11am

UK rail operators cancel services due to cracks in high-speed trains

Rail operators in the UK have cancelled services following the discovery of cracks on part of the chassis in Class 800 Series Hitachi trains.

Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway and TransPennine Express trains of the Hitachi 800 model have been removed from services.

The Hitachi fleet is currently being fully inspected.

In response to the disruption, the UK Government has instructed the rail industry to immediately form a comprehensive plan for fixing the prolonged disruption, which is expected to continue this week.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has asked for a detailed plan from Hitachi to detect the magnitude of the cracks, as well as the safety regarding the resumption of the services.

Hitachi is also expected to present a detailed inspection regime to guarantee safety.

As an independent safety regulator, the UK Office of Rail and Road will closely monitor Hitachi’s work and help in resolving all the related issues.

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In addition, the government has asked the rail industry to develop a plan for managing capacity and suggesting where alternative trains can be obtained.

Harris said: “I expect operators to explore all options for replacement services to help people complete their journeys, and have asked Hitachi for a safety inspection plan, as well as a longer-term repair strategy.

“Our focus is to ensure trains are returned to service as quickly as possible, once they are fully approved as safe. Only then can we start to rebuild a reliable and punctual timetable for passengers.”

Furthermore, Hitachi has been instructed by the government to provide a preliminary assessment regarding its estimation for resolving the issue.

Despite being electric railcars, almost half of the Class 800 trains are equipped with diesel engines, allowing them to run on non-electrified lines.

BBC reported that these trains were ordered in 2012 and 2013 at a cost of $8.03bn (£5.7bn) as part of a 27.5-year programme.

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