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Third day of rail disruption due to train cracks

·1 min read

Rail services on Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) are being disrupted for a third day due to cracks in trains.

GWR advised passengers with tickets for long-distance journeys on Monday “not to travel” as there is “no service or an extremely limited service” between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, Swansea, Penzance, Hereford and Cheltenham Spa.

LNER is running a reduced service on the East Coast Main Line, which runs between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Peterborough, York and Newcastle.

The operators’ Hitachi Class 800 trains were withdrawn from service on Saturday for safety checks after cracks were discovered in part of the chassis of some trains.

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Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said if inspected trains were found to have “tiny cracks” then replacement trains may be deployed while repairs are carried out.

Asked if he knew how long the disruption was likely to last, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No, I can’t put an exact time on it and that is purely because we are going through the process and taking it extremely seriously.”

Mr Nisbet described the disruption as “disappointing” because more passengers were returning to using the train network following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

In response to a question on how long trains had been running with cracks, he said: “These trains are relatively new in service, so this is something that the Hitachi engineers will be looking at and reporting back to the train operating companies.”