Fascinating blog bit of the day

but if he was on the original Heathrow Express in 1994 that makes it very interesting, particularly given what the Heathrow Express collapse did to London Underground’s approach to risk (I really must write the Jubilee Line Extension post one day). Without knowing which I’d be guessing, and if I’m going to do that I might as well guess about something interesting and just make up some exciting stuff. So as I have to do something, and it should involve risk, I’ll merely note that the biggest punishment on Balfour Beatty wasn’t the fine (£1.3 million, even in the 1990s, wasn’t that much to a big civil engineering contractor) or the damaged reputation with clients it was insurance. Post the collapse (and post the JLE insurance fiasco) Balfour’s couldn’t get insurance for a tunnel job for love nor money for almost a decade. While they did finish out existing contracts they didn’t start a new job in tunnelling till the middle of this decade.

These market things what with their reputations and insurances.

Seem to work better than bureaucracies, don\’t they?

4 thoughts on “Fascinating blog bit of the day”

  1. BB were among the motley crew responsible for Metronet. Pushed through by your least favourite one-eyed Scotsman, sealed by the unspeakable Shriti Vadera, in London Labour’s attempt to stick Ken in his political grave forever.

    OTOH, they were paid 2 billion US$ to build the railway line from HK airport to Nam Cheong railway station.

    While just-so stories are delightful, they have fuck-all relevance in real life.

    Signed, former Editor-In-Chief,
    Tunnels & Tunnelling Magazine.

  2. What do those two examples have in common? I’ll tell you, they didn’t involve building a tunnel.

    Metronet was a maintenance contract not construction.

    Nam Cheong was (1) a station and (2) 2billion Hong Kong Dollars. So once again not a tunnel.

    I may have been misinformed and BB may have done a great deal of tunnelling work during the time, but you will have to do better than that.

  3. Phil, the new HK airport is built on an artificial island and the railway line runs through what, at the time, was one of the biggest tunnelling jobs in the world. I know because I was working on the Channel Tunnel in 1991 and most of my colleagues buggered off to HK after the Dover job was finished, and then came back for the Jubilee line extension and the Heathrow Express

  4. Flatcap Army,

    Sure, but Balfours didn’t work on the tunnel portion of the railway line. They did the new station, other firms did the tunnels.

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