Class 800 LNER train

ORR releases safety report on Hitachi Rail's Class 800 fleet

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has made safety recommendations looking at how the rail industry dealt with the withdrawal of Hitachi Rail’s Class 800 series fleet.

Cracks were found on the bodyshell of some of the trains meaning safety checks were performed by Hitachi Rail, affected operators and overseen by ORR.

Following this, rigorous mitigation was put in place to allow the trains to come back into service without compromising passenger safety.

The report was launched after trains were withdrawn for safety checks on Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway, Hull Trains and TransPennine Express networks.

Cracks were also separately discovered following examination on ScotRail’s Class 385 and Southeastern’s Class 395 trains.

Engineers from Hitachi Rail and independent experts have completed a stringent analysis to gain a better understanding of the issue.

The recommendations from the ORR report state that:

  • The rail industry should conduct further research into finding the causes of higher levels of fatigue loading experienced by rolling stock
  • Hitachi Rail should investigate the effectiveness of their processes for welding when the component geometry is more challenging
  • The industry should develop a way of responding to future cross-industry crises
  • Consideration should be given on whether a standard for mitigating stress corrosion cracking (SCC) should be developed
  • Rolling stock designers should gain a better understanding of the risks posed by SCC and give it specific consideration

Ian Prosser CBE, ORR’s HM Chief Inspector of Railways commented on the report into the Hitachi Rail fleet.

Mr Prosser said: “With our oversight, Hitachi Rail and operators have put in place robust plans to make sure the right safety issues are being managed.

“Safety remains the number one priority.

“Our review provides a clearer picture of the issue and we will continue our oversight to ensure work moves forward to agree the permanent solution.

“It is important that the whole industry works together to learn lessons from what has happened.

“Our recommendations will help with that.”

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