Great Western Railway has announced that it is resuming regular train services after thorough safety checks on its fleet of 800 series Hitachi trains. Here is GWR’s statement:
Great Western Railway is pleased to announce that it expects to be able to operate 99% of its planned timetable from Monday after the re-introduction of the majority of its long-distance fleet.
Hitachi’s fleet of 800 Series trains was removed from service across the UK as a precaution last weekend when cracks were found on some trains. After further rigorous safety checks involving ORR’s HM Railway Inspectorate, GWR is now beginning to reintroduce trains with a more regular service for passengers.
The timetable includes
- London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads: Half-hourly
- London Paddington and Plymouth/Penzance: Hourly to Plymouth with services extended to Penzance every two hours
- London Paddington and South Wales (via Bristol Parkway): Half-hourly during peak, hourly outside peak times
- London Paddington to the North Cotswolds via Oxford: Hourly
- London Paddington and the South Cotswolds (Cheltenham/Gloucester): Hourly.
Local stopping services will continue to operate as planned, and additional long-distance train services will be provided at weekends to accommodate summer increases in visitors to Devon and Cornwall.
GWR will operate Intercity Express Trains alongside additional trains brought in from other areas of the UK rail network to provide its long-distance services. With a reduction in available Class 800 trains, some very early morning and late evening services will not operate, and Intercity Express Train services between London Paddington and Newbury will be replaced by Class 387 electric trains (where customers can join a connecting train to Bedwyn).
The service recovery plan includes thorough inspections by specialist teams before trains leave the depot and 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.
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 before they travel next week.
Mark Hopwood, GWR Managing Director, said:
“Our customers have shown great patience over the past week, and I am grateful for their understanding as we have worked with Hitachi to allow trains to return safely. This news will allow us to run some additional services over the weekend and reintroduce more consistent robust timetables for customers from Monday.
“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.”
What about travel this weekend?
Prior to Monday some disruption is expected to continue as GWR continues to take delivery of more trains and ramps-up service levels again. Trains on some routes will be less frequent than usual, and your journey might take longer than it normally would.
Friday 14 May
Customers are advised not to travel. Online journey planners have been updated.
Saturday 15 May
A limited number of services will be running. Please avoid travelling where possible. Online journey planners have been updated. Check your journey before you travel.
Tickets and Refunds
- If you no longer want to travel, you can claim a refund from where you bought your ticket, free from admin fees – Find out more about claiming a refund
- Tickets for travel between Saturday 08 May and Sunday 16 May, can instead be used on any alternative day up to and including Sunday 16 May.
- If you do travel on another day, please travel as close to the time of your original ticket as possible. New reservations should be made where possible.
You can use your GWR tickets on the following routes:
- Between London Paddington, London Euston and London Waterloo with London Underground
- Between London Paddington and Reading with TfL Rail
- Between London Marylebone, Banbury and Leamington Spa, also, Bicester North for Bicester Village and Oxford with Chiltern Railways
- Between London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids, between London Waterloo and Reading and also between London Waterloo, Basingstoke, Salisbury and Bristol Temple Meads with South Western Railway
- Between Swindon and Bristol Temple Meads, between Cardiff Central and Worcestershire Parkway via Cheltenham Spa, between Basingstoke and Birmingham New Street via Reading and between Bristol Temple Meads and Birmingham New Street via Worcestershire Parkway with CrossCountry
- Between Carmarthen and Cardiff Central via Swansea, between Cardiff Central and Cheltenham Spa and between Newport and Hereford with Transport for Wales
- Between London Euston and Birmingham New Street with Avanti West Coast
- Between London Euston, Birmingham New Street and Hereford with West Midlands Railway
We have also arranged for bus companies to accept tickets on relevant routes.
Until Monday, we will adapt many of our direct high-speed routes into a series of separate services.
Expect your journey to take longer. This may lead to train services being busier than normal and is likely to make social distancing difficult.