You have won your struggle to ensure the proposed Channel tunnel rail link will be buried deep underground while it traverses Islington. The international Eurostar trains will disappear just after leaving St Pancras and not emerge until they reach Barking.

It was a good campaign. It helps, of course, to be in north London, home of many journalists and of the great and good. And many of you are used to waging such battles, from successfully preventing the construction of motorways that would have cut swathes through your area to trying unsuccessfully to prevent the closure of the local John Lewis, Jones Brothers. But are you sure you've done the right thing this time?

Oh, I know your arguments. Two hundred trains per day, many speeding past at 90mph, barely a stone's throw from the lovely Victorian terraces that you have colonised and gentrified. But by burying the trains, you have lost several opportunities.

First, the trains themselves. These are objects of great beauty, sleek, elegant and modern, a source of pride about our ability to master technology. They are clean because they run on electricity. In a few years' time, Islington Council would have been unable to resist putting a Eurostar train on its logo and coming up with some ghastly slogan such as: 'Islington, where London meets Paris.'

Second, putting the line on the surface would have meant rebuilding the adjoining North London line. Residents near the line suffer particularly badly from vibration because the Victorians put the track on wooden beams, which radiate vibrations to houses that are quite far away from the track.

Many of you might have mistakenly thought the same would happen with the new trains. In fact, there would have been a new track bed, drastically reducing the vibration problem. New stations would also have been built to allow the Eurostar trains a through passage. With the rail link now deep underground, the North London line will continue to be neglected by BR's successor, Railtrack, which will be equally strapped for cash.

Then there is the risk. Although the tunnel will be 30 or 40 metres deep, there will be noise and vibrations as the trains travel down. There are no compensation schemes for this 'reradiated' noise, unlike those for surface noise, which are well used, particularly during roadbuilding. And you can be sure that having spent so much on putting the trains in tunnels - with the spurious claim that this is no more expensive - Union Railways, which is building the line, will skimp on the extra cost of ensuring it creates a minimum of vibration. Instead, it may reluctantly cough up a bit of compensation some time in the next decade.

Finally, burying the line means that new visitors coming to Britain for the first time will not get a view of a bit of the real London that Islington proudly proclaims for itself. All travellers will get is a bit of dark tunnel, hardly a welcome to our great city.

(Photograph omitted)

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