With just under a year to go to the Olympics, various transport projects in preparation for the Games are either already finished or are in advanced stages.
There are three Olympic Zones in London: Olympic Park, Central and River and this article is intended to give an idea of what’s happening in each of the Zones.
80% of spectators to the Games are expected to travel by rail. There are actually a wide variety of modes of transport to choose from, with Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) planning assumptions for both the Olympics and Paralympics shown below:
The Olympic Park is served by three stations: Stratford (due to be temporarily renamed Stratford Regional during the Games), Stratford International and West Ham. This gives a total of ten railway routes serving the Olympic Park.
Stratford station is in the process of being upgraded, with the following improvements:
- re-opening the eastern subway with new stairs to platforms 3/5 and 6/8
- an additional westbound platform for the Central line
- widening the eastern end of platforms 6/8
- platform extensions and associated network works for platforms 10a, 11 and 12
- improved accessibility and connections to, and between, platforms through the provision of additional
- lifts and staircases
- the installation of nine lifts, providing access for mobility impaired spectators to/from all platforms
- increased colour contrasting in lifts, on stairwells and other areas
- added tactile strips to all platform edges and stairwells affected by the works
- a new upper-level entrance structure to link the DLR, Jubilee and Central lines with the new town centre
- link bridge
- upgraded station domestic power supplies, increased station command and control facilities
de-cluttering of platforms 3/5 and 6/8
Accessibility has also been improved with the widening and lengthening of various platforms and the introduction of a new mezzanine level, which has helped to reduce congestion and create a more pleasant journey experience. Located at the eastern end of the station, a new entrance and exit includes a lift, two escalators and a fixed staircase to improve passenger flow and accessibility.
Many improvements to the station have already been completed:
- The DLR has built two new replacement platforms for use by London Overground services between Richmond/Clapham Junction and Stratford. The platforms, which are situated at the northern end of the station, connect to all subways, which have been extended, together with a connection between the central and eastern subways
- The DLR has converted the existing North London Line lower-level platforms to use for its new extension from Canning Town to Stratford International
- The DLR has upgraded the existing mezzanine level platform to two terminating platforms for services to Poplar
- As part of the Stratford City development, a new northern ticket office for the station has been built. It connects to all three subways and the new town centre link bridge, which will link Stratford town centre with the new Stratford City development. The northern entrance, which has been funded by the company responsible for the Stratford City development and opens in September 2011, is another new accessible entrance point to Stratford station
The first of the ODA-funded works, the widening of platforms 6 and 8, was completed in August 2007.
The second new staircase to the Western subway was completed in 2009 and the two additional lifts brought into service in early 2010. All other major works including the remaining lifts and stairways, the reopened and extended eastern subway, the North East Corner (platform 10a and 11) works, the link subway (along with the extensions to the western and central subways), the new platform 3a as well as systems and signage opened in late 2010. The extensions to platforms 11 and 12 will be delivered with the completion of the Lea Valley line upgrade works in December 2011.
Work is underway at West Ham station to provide new passenger links that allow spectator access to the Olympic Park along The Greenway pathway.
The ODA worked with the London Borough of Newham and London Underground to enhance access between the District line and Hammersmith & City line platforms, which will be used by the majority of spectators using West Ham station to reach the Olympic Park. Planning permission was granted in November 2009.
The West Ham station scheme is designed to create a clear route for spectators from the District line and Hammersmith & City line platforms to outside the station and on to The Greenway. Spectators will then reach the southern entrance of the Olympic Park via a 1.6km walk along The Greenway.
Work at West Ham delivered by the ODA includes:
- a staircase, over-bridge and elevated walkway from the District line platform to Manor Road;
- a safe, high-volume pedestrian route along Manor Road with relevant traffic protection and restrictions
- a temporary, wide staircase and lifts up to The Greenway, permanent CCTV and lighting improvements to Manor Road and landscaping improvements following removal of the temporary works
London Underground completed the refurbishment of District line trains in March 2008. New trains will start to be introduced on the Hammersmith & City line in late 2012. Planned signalling changes undertaken by Network Rail for the adjacent c2c line will allow for increased operational flexibility so that more train services can stop at the station, increasing the number of passengers able to board and alight at West Ham station during the peak hours. However, there will also be increases in inter-peak and late evening capacity of up to 50 per cent compared to the current service to cater for Games demand.
Stratford International, London St. Pancras International and Ebbsfleet International stations
During the Olympic Games, a rail shuttle service will operate between St. Pancras International and Ebbsfleet International with an intermediate stop at Stratford International. This temporary service, called the Javelin, will use the Class 395 high-speed trains currently operating the Southeastern high-speed services.
At Stratford International station, passengers using the Javelin will be able to use a new access at the eastern end of the domestic platforms which will reduce walking times for those passengers not using the new DLR line. Located at the eastern end of the station, the new entrance and exit includes a lift, two escalators and a fixed staircase to improve passenger flow and accessibility.
For the period of the Games, all four platforms at Stratford International station will be needed for Javelin shuttle services. International visitors travelling to/from Stratford will interchange at Ebbsfleet International or St. Pancras International and join one of the Javelin services for their journey to the Olympic Park. Temporary works are required at Ebbsfleet International to facilitate the flows of international and Games passengers. Detailed operational plans for St. Pancras International, Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International during the Games are being developed.
Some of the works at Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International stations are expected to be temporary. This includes decking used on the international platforms and ramps at Stratford International station to provide access between the international platforms and the high-speed Games services.
North London Line
The NLL has undergone two significant changes before 2012. Firstly, the section between Willesden Junction and Stratford has been completely re-signalled and upgraded, enabling a doubling of the number of passenger trains (which, being longer and larger will result in a tripling of capacity). Also, the section of the line between Stratford station and Canning Town station (the former NNL North Woolwich Branch) has been converted from National Rail to DLR operation and extended from Stratford station to Stratford International station for highspeed services.
The work interfaced with parallel works to construct the new London Overground line between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon/Crystal Palace/New Cross, with the new line paralleling the NLL between Highbury & Islington and just west of Dalston Kingsland. It opened in February 2011.
Docklands Light Railway
To meet Games demand, DLR capacity is being increased through a number of improvement schemes.
These schemes fall into two categories: background schemes, funded by TfL; and London 2012 Games schemes, funded by the ODA.
The DLR network serves a number of London 2012 venues. All trains have level access from train to platform and they all have dedicated wheelchair user spaces. The ODA has worked with DLR to understand lift and train car capacities available on the network.
The ODA has funded the following lift and station improvements:
- upgrade of two lifts at Greenwich station
- upgrade of two lifts at Tower Gateway station
- two escalators at Custom House station (part-funding)
- new 17-person electric lift at Prince Regent station
- upgrade of the original lift at Prince Regent station
- new 17-person electric lift at Custom House station
Due to the nature and location of the DLR, the proposed enhancements will benefit both the Olympic Park and River Zone venues, as well as contributing to the delivery of the rail strategy for the Central Zone and cultural events.
The DLR has been extended from Canning Town to Stratford station (along the former NLL North Woolwich line) then onwards to a new station at Stratford International in the heart of the Olympic Park.
Central and River Zones
Green Park is in the process of being upgraded, with step-free access to all platforms and improved exits. Southfields recently had lifts installed in preparation for the tennis tournaments taking place at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon. Wembley Park was completely refurbished in 2006, with step-free access and an expanded ticket hall. The Piccadilly line lifts at Earl’s Court are being refurbished.
Finallyt, four river piers will serve Olympic venues: Westminster, Greenwich, North Greenwich and Woolwich.