In U.K. Airport-Style Scanners Could Protect Trains, but Cost May Be too Much

BOOSTING security on Britain's rail network with airport-style scanners and metal detectors would cost about GBP25,000 for each set of equipment, experts revealed last night.

To supply just two scanners and detectors to each of Britain's 2,500 railway stations would cost about GBP125million, with hundreds of millions more in staffing costs.

Major stations like Victoria, King's Cross and Birmingham New Street would need several scanners or risk forcing passengers into huge delays.

Even smaller stations would probably need at least two systems to cover entrances, and they would have to be installed at every station in the land to prevent security gaps.

Even this would not guarantee safety.

Last night security experts said airport-style security on the rail, Tube and bus network would be impractical, not only because of the cost involved but because the public would not tolerate long delays.

London Underground, which has 275 stations, many with multiple exits, said it had yet to see a system that would work on its crowded network.

"We would need thousands of scanners to handle 275 busy stations, many with several exits, " a spokesman said.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said airport-style scanners were not feasible on the 21,000-mile rail network, which carried more than one billion passengers last year.