GWR reintroduces Hitachi Class 800 trains after a “rigorous” checks for hairline cracks

matt rodda MP wokingham reading east labour
Matt Rodda MP

GREAT WESTERN Railway (GWR) will be reintroducing trains on the London Paddington line, after they were removed from action on Friday. 

The rail operator has agreed a service recovery plan with manufacturer Hitachi Rail and the Government to reintroduce the 800 Series.

Last week, the fleet was removed from service after hairline cracks were found onboard. 

Mark Hopwood, GWR managing director, said he is grateful for customer patients over the last week.

“This news will allow us to run some additional services today and reintroduce more consistent robust timetables for customers after the weekend,” he said.

“The industry has come together to help support those travelling – with other operators allowing each other’s tickets to be used on their networks; adding in extra shuttle services to help move people; and in sharing rolling stock to provide it to those who need it most.”

Trains are being reintroduced, but GWR has warned they may still be less frequent than usual, and advised passengers to check ahead of travel.

The service recovery plan includes criteria each train must meet before it takes passengers.

This includes a thorough inspection by specialist teams before leaving the depot.

Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East said it was very encouraging the trains were coming back in service.

“I’m very pleased to hear that this seems to have been resolved relatively quickly,” the MP said. “It will be a relief to commuters who will soon be able to travel in a more normal way.

“Safety has to come first, and I’m pleased Hitachi seems to have addressed this quickly. I would like to thank all rail staff for their hard work over the last few days, they have been going above and beyond their normal duties.”

Hitachi Rail said its engineers and independent experts have also completed rigorous tests and research to gain a clearer understanding of the cracking issue.

Over time, trains will be subject to a Forward Repair Plan, to ensure the fleet remains safe.

Rail minister Chris-Heaton Harris said Hitachi will carry out a comprehensive daily testing regime on affected trains.

“The next step on the route back to normal service levels will be for Hitachi to present their long-term repair plan for the fleet,” he added. “We expect to see this shortly.

“While this long-term fix can partly be incorporated into the regular service pattern for these trains, we do expect disruption to services for some time to come, but hope passengers understand this work is essential to ensure these issues do not occur again.”

Andrew Barr, group CEO of Hitachi Rail, said: “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 on an approach that allows the return of trains to service where they have been deemed safe.”

Mr Barr thanked all partners for their support in the process.

Disruption may still affect services to London Paddington, Reading, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance, Oxford, Eversham, Worcester, Great Lamvern, Hereford, Swindon, Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa.

For more information about travel disruption, visit: www.gwr.com

Related posts

Finchampstead brewery raises its glasses to tap room

Phil Creighton

Safe and well: Woodley woman and her four children have been located

Phil Creighton

Wokingham Choral Society to hold one-day workshop next month

Phil Creighton
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Wokingham Today – which is a Social Enterprise  provides Wokingham Borough with free, independent news coverage.

If you are able, please support our work.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x