An investigation has been launched after hairline cracks were found in high speed trains made in the North East which led to a series of cancellations on Saturday.

The issue was found in the Hitachi 800 series trains, made at the company's factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which are used by Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railways and Transpennine Express.

An Hitachi Rail spokesperson said: "Some Class 800s have been taken out of passenger service as a precautionary measure to allow for thorough investigations.

"We are working with all partners to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible. We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to passengers for the impact this may be causing for their travel plans."

Rail operators warned there would be cancellations and disruption while the cracks were investigated.

There is limited service on the East Coast mainline between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and London.

On its website LNER said: "We are experiencing significant disruption to our train services due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time.

"Because of this, we're advising customers not to travel today. Your tickets dated for travel today, Saturday 8 May, will be valid for travel up to and including, Sunday 16 May.

"If you choose to travel between Sunday 9 May and Sunday 16 May, please travel as close to the time on your ticket as possible. Please note that you must make a reservation before travelling."

An investigation has been launched
An investigation has been launched

A statement from Transpennine Express said: "A number of Class 800 series trains from several train companies have been taken out of service today for checks as a precautionary measure, including our Nova 1 trains.

"This problem is being investigated by the train manufacturer and once trains have been checked, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible.

"This will affect a significant number of services on our Newcastle to Liverpool route and we are advising customers not to travel on this route today."

All high-speed GWR services between London, Bristol, Cardiff and Penzance have been cancelled and customers are advised not to attempt to travel today.

General Secretary Mick Lynch of rail union, the RMT, said: "RMT is fully aware of the issues that have led to the cancellation of services on LNER today and that similar problems with cracks appearing in the fleet on Great Western are also emerging.

"Hitachi needs to ensure the highest safety standards and properly investigate and rectify the issues.

"This situation demonstrates once again that it is reckless for the rail companies and the DfT to move the industry to diluted, risk-based maintenance regimes which extends maintenance cycles on rolling stock or on the infrastructure, whether that be on the mainline railway or on the tube and metro services, to cut costs and strip out staff.

"The railway needs to be maintained rigorously and to the highest possible standards to protect the travelling public and the staff and that will remain RMT's key demand."

In April, six Hitachi 800 series trains were taken out of service by Great Western Railway after hairline cracks were discovered.

It said the cracks were found during routine maintenance of two of its trains and said "possible issues" had been discovered on another six trains, which had been withdrawn from service while investigation work was carried out.

GWR said the hairline cracks were "in areas where the suspension system attaches to the vehicle body on two trains".