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Could the HEX team have more involved?

Letters

Yes, the HSE's report on the Heathrow collapse was very late, presumably for legal reasons (NCE last week). As (then) Railtrack's 'Engineer' for the JLE project, it would have been useful to me in early 1995.

But at least most of the facts were known by that time.

Nevertheless, the report does document a classic combination of organisational, procedural, management and technical failures and is compulsive reading.

For Railtrack's own approval processes on the JLE project, we recognised the need for a sufficiently empowered, knowledgeable, accountable and balanced team with unfettered access to data and not unduly impeded by commercial pressure.

We were, like it or not, party to construction decisions in relation to underground structures of similar size to Heathrow but beneath major stations and rail routes that were to remain fully operational.

However, I recognise that such focus is rarely achievable and judge that we were fortunate to have been in such a position outside LUL's own project management processes.

It is a matter of speculation as to how Heathrow would have progressed if BAA had chosen to reserve such a role for its client team.

Tim Steven (M), Burgess Hill, W Sussex, tsteven@accuk.co.uk

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