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Eddie View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Train drivers may boycott tunnel
    Posted: 08 August 2005 at 11:02am
Free Press:

Train drivers may boycott tunnel after safety fears

TRAIN drivers have warned they will not travel through the tunnel at Gerrards Cross until they are satisfied it will not collapse again.

Drivers union Aslef said it would not send drivers through the tunnel, which caved in a month ago, until it was sure it was safe.

A decision on the future of the tunnel, built to support a car park for Tesco's new development, was due to be reached on Friday after Tesco presented its report on the collapse to Network Rail last week.

The train line at Gerrards Cross station could be re-opened within ten days the week commencing August 15 if the proposed reopening plan is accepted.

However Stan Moran, Buckinghamshire representative of train drivers union Aslef, said the union would have to be satisfied about safety.

He said: "We have been kept well informed of the situation by Chiltern Railways. The track has been removed and the site has been made safe.

"If they decide the tunnel is unsafe, it will have to be removed.

"We will be involved in full briefings. The union certainly wouldn't send a train through the tunnel if we thought it was unsafe."

Mr Moran said Chiltern Railways has employed additional independent engineers to advise them on the situation. Extensive site testing and analysis has taken place to identify why the collapse happened, and the extent of the damage.

Network Rail, together with the Health and Safety Executive, Chiltern Railways and its advisers, plus other relevant parties, were expected to reach a decision about the report on Friday.

Track and signal repair work is then set to be finished next week if the plan is deemed satisfactory.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail director of operations and customer services, said: "We and the health and safety executive need to be 100 per cent certain the remaining structure is safe before resuming train services through this area."

Tesco director Tim Mason added: "We will be guided by the safety authorities on all decisions about future work."

Following the collapse of the tunnel on June 30 when 5,000 tonnes of debris fell on to the line, commuter journeys have been massively disrupted as engineers and rail authorities have strived to clear the site and return it to operational use.

Reg Whittome, chairman of the Chiltern Railway Passenger Board, said people have been "amazingly tolerant" of this situation but they thought the tunnel was "inherently unsafe".

The final cost of the clear-up operation is not yet known.

Tesco say the future of the scheme at Gerrards Cross is dependent upon the assessment of the report.

9:35am today

They say Kesey's dead; But never trust a prankster;even underground.
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