Tunnel fears are justified : LETTERS

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The Independent Online
From Dr Sidney Alford Sir: I am not sure to what extent, if at all, Christian Wolmar is writing with tongue in cheek about the security of the Channel tunnel ("Making a crisis out of a tunnel", 31 January). The tunnel trains are very much more attractive targets from the point of view of terrorists than are ferries or other trains because of the uniqueness of the tunnel and the extravagant praise and money that has been heaped upon it since its inception. The immobilisation of a train in a tunnel is, moreover, a far greater inconvenience than it is in the open.

Mr Wolmar is also wrong in his statement that, "Nobody is suggesting that a bomb could destroy the tunnel itself." I blow things up for a living, and I suggest it. When I attempted to discuss this disagreeable possibility privately with Eurotunnel some years ago, they responded with a bland assurance that all possible risks had been considered by the best possible experts.

I do agree with Christian Wolmar in that pseudo-security or, as he puts it, "sloppy practices", are counter-productive. The self-important and condescending "we do not discuss security matters" with which Eurotunnel dismisses honest and informed enquiry may be truer than they mean to imply.

Yours faithfully, Sidney Alford Explosives Engineering Corsham, Wiltshire 31 January

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