BRITISH operator Direct Rail Services (DRS) has removed 13 of its 34 Stadler class 68 diesel locomotives from service following the discovery of a small crack in a bracket during routine inspection.

The locomotives were delivered to DRS between 2012 and 2016. They operate nuclear flask freight trains and other freight for DRS, while some are sub-leased to Chiltern Railways and TransPennine Express to haul passenger trains.

 “During a routine maintenance inspection, a small crack was found in a bracket housing electrical equipment underneath a class 68 locomotive,” a DRS spokesman told IRJ. “As a precaution, inspections were made to all 34 class 68 locomotives, which were completed within 24 hours.

“Safety is central to all of our operations and as a precaution we have withdrawn 13 locomotives from service so that a thorough safety assessment and repair procedure plan can be implemented.”

The spokesman said there was no risk to the locomotive’s safety or operating capacity, and that the company was working with its partners to resolve the problem quickly.

The British rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) was made aware of the problem and a spokesman told IRJ: “we have discussed the matter in depth with them [DRS]  and will continue to follow up progress to make sure there’s minor impact on passenger services. Currently, there’s been very little impact.”