LNER has told passengers ‘Do not travel’ – as multiple services on the East Coast Main Line and beyond are cancelled or severely delayed today (Saturday).
Trains at York, Selby and Northallerton are affected. LNER say all InterCity trains through York have been cancelled or badly disrupted. Bus replacement services are operating out of York to London and Edinburgh.
It follows cracks being found on the Hitachi 800 train – better known to LNER passengers as the Azuma.
These trains have been withdrawn from service while precautionary checks take place. This affects
- LNER at York and Northallerton
- and some Transpennine services.
It had also affected Hull Trains through Selby, but the company said that by 1.30pm on Saturday its normal services had resumed.
In a statement, LNER said the disruption would continue into Sunday: “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 or tomorrow. Your tickets dated for travel today, Saturday 8 May, and Sunday 9 May, will be valid for travel up to and including, Sunday 16 May.”
Great Western Railway is also affected. It says InterCIty services between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Penzance have been cancelled.
All Hitachi 800 trains were taken out of service for “safety checks as a precautionary measure” after GWR said cracks were detected on “more than one” of its vehicles.
Today all operators with Hitachi 800 trains are inspecting them and not allowing them back into service until they are passed as safe, a rail expert told BBC News.
He said there are more than 1,000 locomotives that would need checking across the LNER and GWR fleet so major disruption could continue for some time.
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said routine checks on Saturday morning revealed cracks in the chassis – the base frame – of the trains, and that some trains have been reintroduced to the rails after being approved in checks by Hitachi.
He said: “Safety is always our absolute priority, so these trains have been taken off the network to undergo full and rigorous checks…
“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.”
Mr Heaton-Harris said he has asked operators to deploy extra staff to help passengers complete their journeys and access refunds, and for unaffected providers to help provide alternative routes.
He added: “We have also asked the industry to conduct a rapid and comprehensive review to resolve the issue.”
Hitachi Rail has apologised for the disruption caused.
A spokesman said: “We are working with all partners to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible.
“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to passengers for the impact this may be causing for their travel plans.”
National Rail said today: “A problem under investigation across the LNER route means services are subject to severe delays and cancellations today.
“Customers are advised to not travel on LNER services today.
“You are encouraged to use an alternative mode of transport to complete your journey today.”
Travellers can use their LNER tickets on other services today.
More information and updates
When asked how long the disruption will last, a GWR spokesperson said: “It’s a question of how quickly the trains can be inspected – it’s highly likely that it will certainly persist through to the end of today.
“Once more inspection has been carried out we’ll have a better understanding as to whether that disruption is going to continue into tomorrow.”
LNER tweeted: “Once trains have been checked, they will be released back into service as soon as possible. Please check before travel.”