The Safety of the Chiltern Tunnels

When HS2 is finally completed it is envisaged that there will be 18 trains per hour passing through the Chiltern tunnels at up to 200mph with around 1,100 passengers on board.

The Society has long campaigned for the tunnel under the Chilterns to be a three bore tunnel, similar to the Channel Tunnel. This would mean that in the event of a train having to be evacuated passengers can disembark into the safety of a central tunnel, which could also be used to accommodate emergency vehicles.

What is actually planned is a twin tunnel, with no central safety tunnel and air vents to the surface every few miles.

In the event of a train needing evacuation, the 1,000 passengers would have to make their way along a 5ft wide walkway to the nearest connecting passageway to the other tunnel where trains will be travelling in the opposite direction. Trains along the entire London to Birmingham section, travelling in both directions, would be held while the passengers from the disabled train are rescued, and the disabled train removed.

We believe more needs to be done to reduce the level of risk.