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17Sep92 UK: LONDON UNDERGROUND BLAMES MODULAR CONSTRUCTION FOR ANGEL TUBE STATION DELAY.

London Underground chiefs have blamed modular construction for the faulty escalators delaying the opening of the £70 million Angel Tube station.The troubles stem from unforeseen difficulties aligning four prefabricated sections used to construct each of the three 60 m escalators.But London Underground (LUL) said it was hopeful the station will open this week.French contractor Construction Industrielle de la Mediterrannee (CNIM), which built and designed the escalators, must meet a deadline set for today (Thursday 17).The escalators are billed as the largest in Europe. LUL chose to try the modular construction technique for the first time because of the size of the job.Usually, escalators are assembled from parts at the site, but CNIM decided to lift the factory fabricated units into site to speed along construction.Initial power supply problems were quickly solved. But it emerged that process of bolting and welding the sections was more complicated than first believed.During testing engineers discovered 9 mm gaps between skirting and steps, nearly twice the figure permitted by LUL.After weeks of adjustment LUL hopes this will be cut to 4 mm this week.