Hitachi Class 800 trains were withdrawn from service on Saturday after cracks were discovered in part of the chassis of several trains
The Government has called on rail operators to “urgently set out a comprehensive plan” to resolve the ongoing disruption to services due to cracks found in some trains.
Hitachi 800 trains were pulled from lines on Saturday as a “precautionary measure” after the fault was found in some trains, and Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) advised people not to travel throughout the weekend and on Monday.
In a statement, rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Today I have directed the rail industry to urgently set out a comprehensive plan to ensure services can safely resume as soon as possible.
“I expect operators to explore all options for replacement services to help people complete their journeys, and have asked Hitachi for a safety inspection plan, as well as longer term repair strategy.
Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said if inspected trains are found to have "tiny cracks" then replacement trains may be deployed while repairs are carried out.
Asked if he knows how long the disruption is likely to last, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "No, I can't put an exact time on it and that is purely because we are going through the process and taking it extremely seriously."
Mr Nisbet described the disruption as "disappointing" because more passengers are returning to using the train network following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
In response to a question on how long trains have been running with cracks, he said: "These trains are relatively new in service, so this is something that the Hitachi engineers will be looking at and reporting back to the train operating companies."
On Sunday he said that the cracks - measuring millimetres - are on the "lifting points on the underside of the carriages used for maintenance".
He added that this "didn't pose any particular danger to passengers" but they "have the potential to develop" if left untreated.
Hitachi apologised to passengers and train companies, adding that some trains have returned to service after being checked.