On Saturday the 8th of May 2021, which is National Railway Day, it was discovered that some Hitachi Azuma trains had hairline cracks – meaning that they were withdrawn from service (Northen Echo, 2021). GWR first discovered the problem on their class 800 trains last week during routine maintenance. They at first took two trains from service and then a further six trains after even more cracks were found on several other units. Then, on Saturday LNER (London North Eastern Railway) withdrew all of it’s Azuma fleet “as a precaution” after finding hairline cracks on some of it’s trains aswell. According to a tweet made by Hitachi Rail UK, they have withdrawn some class 800s from service as a precaution and are working with their partners to find a solution to this issue.
The Hitachi class 800:
The class 800 is a DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) manufactured by Hitachi at their plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. It was designed to run services on the East Coast Main Line on the 16th of August 2017 for Virgin Trains, who after just one year were stripped of the East Coast Main Line franchise. GWR also started to run the class 800 train in 2017. Their first journey was a disaster. On the first trip from Bristol to London Paddington, first class passengers were sprayed with water from the air conditioning. Trans Pennine Express also purchased some of these trains. They bought the 802 class which has a slightly more powerful engine than the 800 to get up hills – hence why Trans Pennine opted for this train.
Northen Echo, 2021 https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/darlington/19288479.rail-services-cancelled-cracks-found-hitachi-trains/
LNER 2021. https://www.lner.co.uk/travel-information/travelling-now/travel-alerts/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=customercontact
Last Updated on May 11, 2021 by Lewis Kane