A NORTH London council has had to allow Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) engineers to work 24 hour days at St Pancras station to prevent the high speed rail project's programme from slipping.
Camden Borough Council said that upping the usual 10 hour working day was necessary to ensure that the CTRL contract to upgrade St Pancras remains on time after utility diversion caused delays.
The upgrade of St Pancras station is one of several contracts making up the CTRL project, that runs from London to Folkestone in Kent. The railway is due to open in 2007.
Camden said the move towards more 24 hour working days would allow engineers to carry out safety critical work next to railway tracks.
But it added that it was also because local utility diversions were taking considerably longer than expected. Engineers have been finding water and gas mains that were previously unexpected.
Camden said, however, that the extensions were agreed if changes did not lead to extra noise and dust, adding that most recently it had allowed engineers to remove scaffolding overnight.
The news came as local residents told NCE that they were concerned that Camden would allow more extended working if the programme falls further behind schedule.
But the council added: 'We're working with the developers to make sure they don't get behind, but we won't be allowing 24 hour working unless there's a very good reason for it.'
CTRL was unavailable for comment.