Pages from the past - this week in 2003

By YA Reporter in Other News

This week in 2003, the Yellow Advertiser revealed how a bridge spanning a busy commuter line had been deemed safe by rail chiefs, yet was riddled with cracks.

Network Rail – which was reported to have one of the UK’s worst health and safety records at the time – gave the crumbling structure the all-clear in January of that year.

The bridge was subject to a protection scheme with signs urging lorries to cross one at a time and small plastic bollards to prevent vehicles mounting the pavement.

But a photograph taken by the YA that week showed two HGVs crossing the suspect structure, one directly after the other.

The Yellow Advertiser launched an investigation into the bridge over the c2c line between Southend and London at Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, after Network Rail refused to disclose a recent structural report into it.

Our request for the report followed the discovery that massive HGVs carrying waste were being diverted across the bridge.

Elsewhere in the world this week 14 years ago, British Diplomat Mike O’Brien visited Burmese Opposition leader Daw Aung San Su Kyi on June 19 at Insein Jail outside of Rangoon where she was being detained under a law that permitted the government to jail anyone suspected of planning to threaten state security.

On June 20, US troops intensified their search for Saddam Hussein after captured official Abd Hamad Mahmoud al-Tikriti told US officials that the Iraqi leader and his sons, Uday and Qusay, had survived attacks in March and April.

On June 21 Harry Potter mania reached fever pitch with thousands of fans rushing to bookshops and supermarkets to snap up their copy of the fifth instalment of the schoolboy wizard’s adventures. Many stores across the country had special events at midnight or opened early to let eager fans buy the long-awaited Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when it went on sale at one minute past midnight.

American band Evanescence were rulling the singles and album charts this week in 2003 with the album Fallen and hit song Bring Me To Life.

Meanwhile, the most successful film at the UK box office was the first sequel to what has gone on to become the highest grossing series of films in cinema history – 2 Fast 2 Furious.

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