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Life span


One of the viaducts that Nick Jedston will have to inspect in his role with Network Rail's South East Region (NCE 18 May) will include the temporary section installed as a consequence of the Lewisham train disaster.

That raises an interesting question. Is it the longest surviving temporary repair that performs an important function day in and day out?

The collision between two trains that occurred on that dreadfully foggy night demolished a length of viaduct that carries the line in and out of Holborn. Fortunately, the driver of the train from Holborn sensed that something was wrong and stopped before the train fell onto the tracks and trains below.

A temporary deck, carried on irregular lengths of steel beams and supported on military-type trestle columns, was put in place within a week. Fifty years later, it is still there.

Ray Foot (F), 32 Sutherland Avenue, Petts Wood, Orpington

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