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Tube has 200 potential hazards say consultants

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LONDON UNDERGROUND has over 200 identified hazards that could lead to derailment or collision, according to a consultants report on the network released this week.

Consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff identified 222 hazards across the whole Tube network, as part of an investigation carried out for the London mayor's transport department, Transport for London (TfL).

The report was compiled for London's transport commissioner Bob Kiley in July. Full details were released by TfL this week.

Derailment and collision hazards include broken power rails which carry signalling messages.

If breaks go undetected signal operators lose track of trains, increasing the risk of collisions.

Detecting rail breaks can be difficult, said Bombardier signalling expert Raj Jadhav. 'Until someone actually goes and visually checks it, it is very difficult to see if a break has occurred, ' he said.

The report also warns that automated systems which tell train drivers where to stop on a station platform are failing regularly.

When this happens, drivers have to guess where to stop, running the risk of trapping passengers at the back of the train in the tunnel.

The report says the hazards will be mitigated as existing systems are modified or when new signalling technology is introduced in plans to part privatise the Underground.

'However, until these processes are complete, the potential for collisions and derailments will exist, ' it warns.

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