Brakes put on nuclear trains running through Redbridge

Campaigners have hailed the halting of nuclear waste trains through Redbridge during the Olympics as a “victory”.

News emerged last week that rail operators have temporarily stopped bringing spent nuclear fuel rods through Chadwell Heath, Goodmayes, Seven Kings and Ilford before going through the Olympic site and joining up with the North London Line and on to Sellafield in Cumbria.

Despite that news, which came with news of a total halting of the trains during the Games, a number of protesters gathered at Stratford station on Saturday to oppose nuclear trains altogether.

Veteran campaigner Tim Wardle, 70, of Wanstead Park Avenue, Wanstead, said: “It is totally undesirable to have nuclear trains in the area. If the news of the suspension is true then this is certainly a victory for us.”

Mr Wardle was unhappy some protesters heard the news through the media and not directly from rail companies.

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For over 30 years anti-nuclear protesters have campaigned to halt the transportation of the hazardous material by rail through London claiming it was a potential disaster risk and a terrorist target, with the Olympics heightening that threat.

Rail operators Direct Rail Services (DRS) confirmed the suspension following discussions with the Olympic Delivery Authority and Magnox Ltd, which manages the nuclear plants.

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It stressed the decision had nothing to do with terrorist fears explaining it was designed to free up space for more passenger trains because of the increased demand during the nine week period of the Olympics and Paralympics.

A DRS spokeswoman said: “As responsible operators, we always work closely with our regulators and suppliers in all our areas of operation and making these temporary changes to our spent nuclear fuel movements will ensure that we do not impede on passenger train operators’ ability to deliver an efficient service.”

The spokeswoman also confirmed the trains had not been running for “some time” as they have not had a request from Magnox Ltd.

They did not rule out the service starting up again before the Olympics.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, welcomed the temporary suspension.

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