May 13, 2021 11.08 am This story is over 14 months old

High-speed trains return to service after cracks caused safety disruption

Services are now back up and running

East Coast train services can fully resume after a fleet of high-speed trains were grounded because cracks were found under carriages.

The entire fleet of Hitachi 800 model trains were taken off the railways on Saturday, when hairline cracks were found in lifting points underneath the carriages.

Some services from Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, TransPennine Express and London North Eastern Railway were cancelled as a result.

The cancellations affected LNER and Hull Trains services in Grantham over the weekend and for spells on Monday, May 10, though Lincoln was unaffected.

Some high-speed trains had cracks on them and were taken out of service for safety. | Photo: R S Mortiss

Following safety checks, the services can now begin to run again and shortened routes can be reinstated to their normal distance.

A phased return has been planned, with LNER operating a 75% timetable and starting to reintroduce Azuma train services from next week.

Hitachi Rail has said that it will now be undertaking daily tests on the trains that were affected by the cracks, to ensure safety of the passengers is upheld at all times.

Rail Minister Chris-Heaton Harris said: “I welcome the news that operators, working closely with Hitachi and the independent safety regulator, the Office of Road and Rail, have confirmed that many trains can return to the network following rigorous safety tests.

“Trains should begin to return to service after further inspections have been carried out, helping to safely restore the reliable and punctual services on GWR and LNER that passengers deserve.

“Safety is our absolute focus, which is why Hitachi will carry out a comprehensive daily testing regime on affected trains.

“The next step on the route back to normal service levels will be for Hitachi to present their long-term repair plan for the fleet. We expect to see this shortly.

“Whilst this long-term fix can partly be incorporated into the regular service pattern for these trains, we do expect disruption to services for some time to come, but hope passengers understand this work is essential to ensure these issues do not occur again.”