Welsh Transport Secretary Ken Skates AM has expressed his ‘deep concern’ over serious safety issues which has seen an entire fleet of Arriva trains taken out of service for urgent repairs.
As we wrote earlier there is disruption for rail passengers using Arriva Trains Wales long distance services after the operator was forced to withdraw its fleet of 175 class trains this morning for essential emergency safety checks.
It’s believed a fault with a section of rail track or points caused the damage to the trains, overnight checks by Arriva engineers discovered significant damage to the wheels of some of the class 175 fleet – with reports of a piece being missing off one wheel.
Network Rail engineers have been working since the early morning to locate and fix the section of track or points across the Wales route and on lines into Manchester.
Services usually operated by the 27 class 175 trains such as those between South Wales and Manchester and between North and South Wales have been cancelled or are only able to operate on part of their normal route.
Ken Skates AM. Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport said he will be raising the matter with the UK Government Department for Transport “at a national level to understand how this situation has arisen, given the responsibility for rail tracks an points remains un-devolved.”
In a statement Arriva Trains Wales said; “Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales are carrying out essential safety checks on rail infrastructure and trains after inspections of the fleet revealed some damage to particular trains late last night.
“The majority of long-distance Arriva Trains Wales services operating in North Wales, West Wales and the Marches are currently suspended as a result.”
“The safety of our customers and our people is a key priority, therefore our frontline staff are currently working hard in very difficult weather conditions to ensure thorough checks are undertaken across fleet and infrastructure.”
The ever excellent The Nantwich News wrote a story earlier on the train issues and how it has affected residents nearby, also relevant due to the proximity of Crewe Station. They wrote: One source close to the rail operator said a set of faulty points may have damaged some of the wheels – but that the company should know which trains.”
“It seems they have lost track of the trains which have gone over it, so pulled the whole stock off,” he told us.
“They’ve rearranged their other units to make sure there is cover for the Welsh routes, but left us with nothing between Hereford and Manchester!