Hitachi Class 800 intercity train at a station

ORR launches ‘lessons learned’ review into Hitachi train fault

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has announced it is to carry out a review into the lessons which can be learned from the discovery of cracks on Hitachi Class 800 and Class 385 series trains discovered in May this year.

The discovery of cracks in the jacking plate, and on the mount for the yaw damper bracket, on Hitachi trains led to all rolling stock of certain Hitachi models temporarily suspended for emergency inspections.

ORR will cover both safety and passenger impacts in the review.

Working with Hitachi Rail and all relevant parties, it will seek to find the root cause of the cracks, examine industry processes relating to the assessment of safety risk, and examine the withdrawal and return of affected trains to service.

This part of the ORR review will assess technical areas including design, manufacture and maintenance at depth, as well as process issues for such as how parties work collaboratively.

The report will also look at responsibilities within the industry for inspection, maintenance, repair and remedial action, and the lessons and improvements which could be made.

ORR will also work closely in producing the report with train operating companies Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway (LNER), TransPennine Express and Hull Trains, as well as other industry bodies, to review consistency in the relevant travel information provided to passengers.

The regulator will investigate whether correct ticket refund information was provided, and accepted by operators, as well as whether the right steps were taken to contact passengers who had booked assistance to travel, and whether appropriate alternative arrangements were offered.

The ORR report on passenger impacts is intended to be published by June 25, 2021, with an initial report then published in September covering the history, withdrawal and reintroduction of the affected rolling stock.

A final report will follow when the long-term rectification programme has been established.

John Larkinson, Chief Executive at ORR, said: “The lessons learned review is an important step in ensuring something like this doesn’t happen again.

“Our wide-ranging review will focus on the complex safety issues, covering technical, process and contractual issues. We will also review the impact on passengers and whether passengers received the right information and were appropriately compensated.”

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways at ORR, added: “While we’ve continued to engage with Hitachi and train companies, to oversee their development of a safe and suitable plan to make sure the right checks are being carried out to enable trains to run, now is the right time to ensure we understand more and the industry can learn lessons.”

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