With just two weeks to go until the start of the Olympics, London’s transport system is gearing up for what could be one of its most challenging six weeks: ferrying an extra one million passengers to and from Olympic and Paralympic venues, as well as having to cope with the usual daily commuters. Get ahead of the Games is a highly publicised website advising how to get around during the Games, and can be accessed here. Below are some key transport points to note from round the Capital, however.
The Underground is now full of magenta stickers (apparently 215,000 in total) directing spectators around London to the various venues, with signs all over trains and stations. Line diagrams in train cars have also been modified to show the venues
As with elsewhere on the rail network, there will be no engineering works on the Underground between Sunday 15th July and Saturday 15th September. Trains will also depart Central London and the Olympic Park (westbound) until about 0130 during the Games, and will be stabled in depots at around 0230. Between Friday 3rd August and Sunday 12th August, there will be a “third peak” between 2200 and 2330 when events end, with peak level services in place.
To aid the disabled, the following seventeen stations will have temporary manual boarding ramps during the Games:
- Earl’s Court (District line)
- Finchley Central
- Fulham Broadway
- Hammersmith (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines)
- King’s Cross St. Pancras
- Mile End (District and Hammersmith & City lines)
- Oxford Circus (Bakerloo line)
- Queen’s Park
- Stockwell (Northern line)
- Stratford (Central line)
- Westminster (Circle and District lines)
- West Ham (District and Hammersmith & City lines)
Both Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner will have restricted operations – they will be exit only between 1000 and 2200 from Saturday 28th July and Sunday 12th August. This is due to their proximity to the Hyde Park Live Site.
Trains will operate until 0130, except for Friday 27th July, Sunday 12th August, Wednesday 29th August and Sunday 9th September when trains will run until 0230.
Pudding Mill Lane station will be closed throughout the Games, from Saturday 14th July until Wednesday 12th September. It is inside the Olympic Park and access to the Olympic Park is ticketed, so this avoids ticketing issues for those travelling to Pudding Mill Lane. It would also be prone to overcrowding, even if there was an entrance to the Park from the station, giving another reason for its closure.
Elsewhere, Prince Regent will be entrance only, and Custom House for ExCeL will be exit only. The northbound platform at Heron Quays will be closed between 0800 and 2000 on weekdays. And Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich will be closed whenever there is an event in Greenwich Park, i.e.:
- Saturday 28 July to Tuesday 31 July: 0700 – 2000
- Thursday 2 to Thursday 9 August: 0700 – 2000
- Saturday 11 to Sunday 12 August: 1200 – end of service
- Thursday 30 August to Tuesday 4 September: all day
There will be many changes to bus routes, with diversions, temporarily relocated bus stops and increased frequencies on some routes. These are not easy to list here, so instead details can be found here.
Some key highlights from the national rail network are below.
c2c will be running extra trains all day during the Games, with an extra 47,000 seats each weekday, and off-peak train lengths will be doubled. More information can be found here.
East Coast will also be running additional services. Details of these are here.
First Great Western
First Great Western services will start earlier and finish later.
There will be a number of additional late night services from London Paddington. These are:
- to Exeter St. Davids at 0030
- to Cardiff at 0100
- to Oxford at 0130
Greater Anglia will also operate with a special timetable.
London Midland will be running additional services and longer trains during the Games, approximately 70,000 seats per weekday. Details can be found here.
Southeastern have perhaps provoked the most controversy with their special timetable (details of which can be found here) during the Games.
On the positive side, the High Speed service will run twenty-four hours a day between St. Pancras International and Stratford International, and there will be an enhanced service to/from Ebbsfleet International. There will be no high speed service beyond Ashford International though – these will be replaced by Mainline services. There will be extra late night services from Games venue stations such as Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal to help spectators get home.
Maze Hill, however, will have a significantly reduced service. Morning peak services into London will remain unchanged, but no trains to Central London will stop between 1200 and 2145 on weekdays, and between 1200 and 2029 at weekends.
Trains from Central London will not stop at Maze Hill between 0613 and 1213, presumably to accommodate spectators (and increased dwell times) at Greenwich station, the venue station for Greenwich Park where Equestrian and Pentathlon events are to be held.
Furthermore, Woolwich Dockyard station will be closed between Saturday 28th July and Sunday 12th August, as it is in close proximity to the Royal Artillery Barracks, where the Shooting is to be held, and there are various alternative stations nearby.
South West Trains
South West Trains will run additional late night trains from London Waterloo.