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Protests As Former Subway Chief Gets Channel Tunnel Job

January 19, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ Tony Ridley, who resigned as London transport chief because of a disastrous subway fire, was chosen Wednesday as joint managing director by the consortium building an undersea rail link between England and France.

Relatives of people killed in the subway fire objected.

Ridley resigned 10 weeks ago as head of London Regional Transport, which runs the subways, when an official report cited executive complacency as a factor in the blaze that killed 31 people Nov. 18, 1987.

″My first reaction was, well, I’m certainly not going to use the tunnel,″ said Sophie Tarassenko, whose brother Ivan was killed in the escalator fire at the busy King’s Cross station.

″It seems to me safety is paramount in such a thing as the channel tunnel ... and to have such a man appointed seems a very odd decision,″ she said.

Miss Tarassenko is chairwoman of the King’s Cross Families Action Group formed after the fire.

The official report said management was ″fundamentally in error″ in considering fires inevitable and that it had not put a high priority on safety.

Eurotunnel, the Anglo-French consortium boring the undersea link beneath the English Channel, said Wednesday it chose Ridley and Alain Bertrand as joint managing directors. The tunnel is scheduled to open in 1993.

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