Hitachi Rail, train operators, and government have agreed, with oversight from the Office of Rail and Road, a service recovery plan to safely reintroduce more 800 Series and 385 Series trains to the network. The fleet of 800 series trains was removed from service as a precaution at the weekend when cracks were found on some trains.
“Today’s agreement sets out our joint plan for the phased reintroduction of our trains into service, which will continue to deliver the highest possible safety standards. Safety remains our number one priority, and 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,” said Andrew Barr, Group CEO of Hitachi Rail.
“With our service recovery plan now underway, the operators will begin reintroduction of trains as they are individually approved and deemed safe. We would like to thank our partners for their ongoing support as we work collectively to reintroduce more trains into service.”
Following extensive safety checks on their trains, Transpennine Express, Hull Trains and ScotRail have been able to operate services across all of their routes since last weekend.
After further rigorous safety checks involving ORR’s HM Railway Inspectorate, GWR and LNER will now begin reintroducing trains with a more regular service for passengers. Trains on some routes may be less frequent than usual and train availability could vary, for a number of reasons, so passengers should continue to check with the operators before they travel.
Passengers are being advised to check the latest travel advice from their train operator. Eligible passengers are also being encouraged to claim refunds.
Service Recovery Plan
The service recovery plan follows joint work between Hitachi Rail, train operators and the regulator around the safe return to service of some trains. Since discovering the faults, Hitachi Rail engineers and independent experts have completed rigorous tests and research to gain a clearer understanding of the cracking issue.
Based on the work undertaken to understand the issue, and after extensive engagement, Hitachi Rail and train operators, working with the rail regulator, have put in place suitable criteria for the trains to meet before they can re-enter service.
The service recovery plan includes thorough inspections by specialist teams before trains leave the depot. Trains will only re-enter service if they meet agreed safety criteria. Working with Hitachi Rail, the rail regulator will continue to carry out rigorous oversight to ensure robust processes are being followed.
Over time, trains will be subject to a Forward Repair Plan, which will ensure the long-term continued safe running of the fleet.