Letter: Why Islington opted to go underground

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The Independent Online
Sir: Christian Wolmar ('Dear Islington campaigners', 25 January) has got it badly wrong. Islington has more people living within 100 metres of the planned Channel Rail Link than any other part of the line and so opposition was bound to be enormous.

This time we were told that we were supposed to welcome speeding trains in the 'national interest'. The people - council tenants, housing association tenants, private tenants and owner occupiers - said no. If you want the railway, it must go in tunnel all the way to St Pancras.

Union Railways was obdurate in its refusal to consider a tunnel until the campaign got weaving - more protests came from Islington than any other part of the line - and the company was forced, four months into the consultation, to look seriously at the deep-tunnel option.

We haven't won yet. We have two big demands. The tunnel should go all the way to its terminus and thus save houses and prevent blight west of Caledonian Road, and we want some proper investment in the North London Line.

Strange, I thought Christian Wolmar actually lived in Islington. Is this a kind of environmental self-mutilation he wants?

Yours faithfully,


MP for Islington North (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

26 January