Rufford street regularly echoes to the noise of bells, an alarm bell ringing loudly for thirty seconds. At night,when all else is quiet the bell is audible inside houses. Stuart Cottis has spent months tracking down who is responsible for the noise. Network Rail has a train warning bell at the exit to the Gasworks Tunnels from Kings Cross station that emerge into the Cally Cutting (where the Ladykillers train sequences were shot). After months of patient lobbying Stuart has received the following disappointing response:
‘Bell at Gasworks Tunnel
I write further to your e-mails to Janet Goodland and Derek Crook and refer directly to your recent email requesting an update on the train operated warning system at Gasworks Tunnel. Foremost, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you whilst we have investigated the issues raised in your e-mail.
In my last letter to you, I mentioned that the Network Rail Operations Manager would have a discussion with engineers about the possibility of replacing this system (which has been in situ since the 1970’s) with a modern warning system if this would lead to a reduction in noise levels. I am sorry to advise that after considerable time spent investigating the options available, it has been decided that a change is not feasible as a new system will also be audible at the same level as that of the system currently in place.
As previously advised, this system is required due to the limited sighting distance for drivers and the amount of train movements at this location. Without this important train operated warning system, all trains out of Kings Cross would have to be cautioned in order to protect staff at the tunnel. This would have major safety implications as well as a significant impact on train performance and journey times for the millions of passengers using the line.
I am sorry that this is not the answer that you were hoping for, however our priority must be the safety of both our workers and the travelling public. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
Community Relations Manager LNE’
Personally, I don’t understand the risk assessment here – just how often are there staff in the tunnel? Why can’t there be a system that staff can turn on before they enter the tunnel to work and turn off again when they leave? All it would take would be a switch – can any railway buffs out there help ? Mrs Wilberforce would be most disappointed.