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Rail route to reopen after tunnel collapse

The railway line hit by a tunnel collapse at Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire will reopen on Saturday after a seven week shut down, Chiltern Railways announced today.
A 30 m section of the 320 m tunnel failed on June 30. Network Rail had hoped to begin services through the tunnel earlier this week.

The tunnel is being built over the line by Ipswich firm Jackson Civil Engineering to allow the construction of a new Tesco store - a development much opposed by local residents.

Since the collapse more than 25,000 tonnes of earth and some 60 metres of tunnel structure were removed from the site.

Independent engineering experts has thoroughly reviewed the tunnel design, the building method and the earth used as infill, which all form part of the overall tunnel design. They have agreed with Tesco and its consultants that the structure is safe for the passage of trains.

NR chief executive John Armitt said: 'Now we are satisfied that the tunnel is safe, our engineers have moved in and will be working night and day, rebuilding the track and signalling damaged in the tunnel collapse, to get trains moving once again.

'I appreciate the last seven weeks have been extremely frustrating for passengers. However we could not contemplate re-opening the line unless we were satisfied that the Tesco tunnel was completely safe.'