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Old January 5th 05, 10:27 AM posted to
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Default Heathrow Picadilly line closure

Discussing partial closure of Picadilly line Heathrow connection earlier, I
mentioned the tunnel collpase some years back. Here is some of the detail I
couldn't remembe, taken from

Company File

Record fine after tunnel collapse

One of the worst civil engineering disasters for 25 years

Builder Balfour Beatty has been fined a record 1.2m for the collapse of a
tunnel at Heathrow Airport, which put lives at risk and caused the cancellation
of hundreds of flights.

BBC Transport Correspondent Simon Montague: The collapse could have caused a
major disaster The tunnel collapsed in the early hours of October 21, 1994.
Fortunately no-one was in the tunnel at the time.

However, the court was told that the collapse could have crushed to death
people using the nearby Piccadilly tube line and the judge hearing the case,
Justice Peter Cresswell, said it was "luck more than judgment" that this did
not happen.

Huge crater

The collapse could have ended in real disaster
The engineering disaster caused a huge crater to appear between the airport's
two main runways and caused damage to car parks and buildings. It took months
to clear up the damage.

The collapse occurred during the construction of a tunnel for the Heathrow
Express Rail Link.

Balfour Beatty pleaded guilty last year to failing to ensure the safety of both
its employees and members of the public.

Austrian engineering firm Geoconsult, which was responsible for monitoring the
progress of the Heathrow Express Link, was also fined 500,000.

The judge ordered both companies to pay a further 100,00 each in costs.

Terrible disaster

Justice Cresswell said: "This was one of the worst civil engineering disasters
in the United Kingdom in the last quarter of a century. The tunnels were being
built below part of the world's busiest international airport and there was
considerable potential for harm."

Both firms were found guilty of falling "seriously short" of the appropriate
standards and reasonable steps, resulting in serious breaches of the Health and
Safety Regulations.

Martin Thurgood, of the Health and Safety Executive, told the BBC: "This level
of fine sends a clear message to the industry, whether (to) the client's
designers, contractors or sub-contractors, that they do need to take full
account of workers safety and public safety in the way in which they go about
their business."

Balfour Beatty, based in Edinburgh, is one of the UK's largest building groups,
and is part of the engineering group BICC. It said it deeply regretted the

The tunnel's collapse delayed the opening of the Heathrow Express by six months
and caused long hold ups on part of the Jubilee line extension, where engineers
were using similar building techniques.

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