Letter: Tunnel as safe as it can be

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The Independent Online
Tunnel as safe as it can be

Sir: Since1968, more than a million lorries have been carried through very long railway tunnels on open wagons with the drivers riding in a carriage at the front. This method of transport has not resulted in one serious casualty or death in all this time.

Enclosing the existing Channel Tunnel shuttle wagons is not the easy option that Alan Beard suggests (letter, 17 May). Height as well as weight restrictions would have to be imposed to provide space under the roofs for roller shutters to close off the ends of the wagons. Such a limited service would not compete with the ferries.

Building new wagons would cost pounds 400m, and pounds 600m of revenue would be lost while they were developed. Given that Eurotunnel has already borrowed pounds 8bn on which it cannot pay interest, this money is simply not available. Were the Safety Authority to demand full enclosure, the freight shuttle would be wiped out and so would Eurotunnel - a strange reward for a 100 per cent safely record in human terms.

RICHARD HOPE

"Railway Gazette"

Sutton, Surrey

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