CRACKED TRAINS: Faulty carriages return to service as “deemed safe”
Trains with cracked bodywork are to re-enter service after the rail industry clarified that they do not pose a safety risk.
Rail services were recently disrupted across large parts of the UK rail network after cracks were found on the lifting points on the underside of the carriages on several trains. Hitachi, the train's manufacturer, have agreed with the government a plan to reintroduce more Class 800 and Class 385 trains.
Due to the faults, LNER is now running a reduced service on the East Coast Main Line, which runs between London King's Cross and Edinburgh via Peterborough, York and Newcastle.
Great Western Railway (GWR) trains have also been affected by the cracked trains and have advised passengers holding tickets for long-distance journeys "not to travel" as there is either "no service or an extremely limited service" between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, Swansea, Penzance, Hereford and Cheltenham Spa.
Chris Heaton-Harris, transport minister, has said: "I have directed the rail industry to urgently set out a comprehensive plan to ensure services can safely resume as soon as possible." Industry body, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), has said engineers and independent experts have "completed rigorous tests and research" to get a "clearer understanding of the cracking issue". Regulator the Office of Rail and Road has overseen the service recovery plan so far. Mr Heaton-Harris also stated that train operators should arrange replacement bus and coach services to help their customers.
HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser, said the organisation will continue to "provide the rigorous oversight needed to make sure the right checks are being carried out".
Group Chief Executive of Hitatchi's Rail Division, Andrew Barr, said "Safety remains our number one priority...we and our partners have worked round the clock to agree an approach that allows the return of trains to service where they have been deemed safe."
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