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UK passengers face 'days' of rail chaos after cracks found in carriages

·3-min read
A GWR (Great Western Railway) train waits on a platform at Bristol Temple Meads station in Bristol. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
A GWR (Great Western Railway) train waits on a platform at Bristol Temple Meads station in Bristol. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)

Rail passengers face another few days of train chaos after cracks were found on high-speed carriages. 

Two of the UK's main train firms, Great Western Railway (GRW) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) advised people not to travel on Sunday, after Hitachi 800 carriages had to be taken out of service for safety. 

The move comes after thousands of passengers have been unable to travel on lines linking London to Scotland and to the south-west, since Friday evening.

On Saturday, some of Britain's main intercity lines including, Hull Trains and TransPennine Express were suspended.

But, a RDG spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that some trains on routes like TransPennine and Hull Trains "have already started running again."

Several train operators have warned the issue will could be prolonged and carry on into next week.

A GWR spokesperson said the company had to "cancel a significant number of long-distance" trains on Saturday and "disruption is expected to continue on Sunday and into the following week."

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network rail, said the disruption could "carry on for a few days."

"Where cracks have been identified they will undergo further and more detailed investigation and repair. We do not yet know exactly how long disruption will last but operators will provide passengers with updates today and into next week."

The hairline cracks were discovered in several carriages after routine inspections were being carried out across the operators’ fleets, finding on cracks on part of the chassis of some Hitachi 800 trains

Hitachi, which has apologised and is investigating the issue "expects" checks to be "complete by the end of today [Sunday]."

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Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris warned on Saturday that GRW in particular was going to be hard hit by the situation. 

"Whilst some trains are starting to be reintroduced, disruption is likely for a prolonged period, particularly on GWR," he said. 

GWR, which operates 93 trains of the model, urged customers to apply for refunds, warning disruption may "continue" into the following week. 

He also said extra rail replacement services would be made available. 

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Passengers affected by the cancellations can use their tickets on several rail replacement coaches at York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and also between Doncaster and Peterborough. 

Alternatively they can also use their tickets on other services including Avanti West Coast and West Midlands Railway trains. 

Local services which are running are expected to busier than usual as a result of the cancellations.

The Office of Rail and Road — the non-ministerial government department regulating Britain's railways — has begun a review into the problem.

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