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Travel chaos as trains withdrawn after safety issues

Written by: Emma Lunn
Rail services on Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) are being disrupted after cracks were discovered in trains.

A number of Class 800 series Hitachi trains used by both train companies have been withdrawn from service for precautionary safety checks.

GWR has advised passengers with tickets for long-distance journeys not to travel between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, Swansea, Penzance, Hereford and Cheltenham Spa. There are either no services or ‘extremely limited services’ on these routes.

A statement on GWR’s website said the company had cancelled a significant number of long-distance train services today, and it expected disruption to continue into tomorrow (Tuesday).

Customers with tickets for long distance services are advised not to travel on Monday 10 May. Tickets dated for travel between Saturday 08 May and Sunday 16 May, can instead be used on any alternative day between Monday 10 May and Sunday 16 May inclusive. GWR recommends that customers make a reservation. Passengers no longer wishing to travel can claim a refund via the GWR website.

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. There are no trains running between Edinburgh and Inverness or Aberdeen.

A statement on LNER’s website said here will be some cancellations across the LNER route from today until Friday 14 May 2021.

The statement said: “If the train you planned to travel on is cancelled, your ticket will be accepted on another LNER train to the same destination. If you are unable to travel on the same day, your ticket will be accepted any day between Monday 10 and Sunday 16 May. You must reserve a seat on the new train before travelling. Please be aware that trains may be busy. If the trains around your original time are full, you may need to be flexible and travel earlier or later.”

Passengers with tickets who no longer wish to travel can claim a refund on the LNER website.

Anthony Smith, Transport Focus chief executive, said: “Safety must always come first. However, it is very disappointing this is happening on a relatively new set of trains. Train companies and ticket retailers must continue to get information out quickly to affected passengers. Many thousands will have their travel plans disrupted this weekend and over the coming days. Refunds should be quick and compensation generous.”

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