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@ Guest_Poster – 24/05/2013 12:23 GMT
@ Travellator – 24/05/2013 12:33 GMT

Thanks for your comments. A truly harrowing ground witness commentary and pictures on:

Clear evidence of the failure of the cowling on the port engine and from the Aviation Herald article, the failure of the starboard engine cowling. Surely, beyond being a coincidence?

@ Travellator – 24/05/2013 12:56 GMT

My understanding – from my time working at LGW – is that BigDog is correct. There is a parallel runway (ordinarily used as a taxiway) to the north of the main runway. It is there to ensure an alternative strip is available should anything such as planned maintenance or an aircraft landing/take-off event render the (longer) main runway unusable.

@ BigDog. – 24/05/2013 12:12 GMT

Sorry: I stand corrected – as the current updated LHR departures board shows.