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

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

St John's Wood Station

St John’s Wood Station

A sign at Westminster

A sign at Westminster

Altered line diagrams on the Hammersmith & City

Altered line diagrams on the Hammersmith & City

The Jubilee diagram

The Jubilee diagram

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)
  • Edgware
  • Finchley Central
  • Fulham Broadway
  • Hammersmith (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines)
  • King’s Cross St. Pancras
  • Mile End (District and Hammersmith & City lines)
  • Morden
  • Oxford Circus (Bakerloo line)
  • Queen’s Park
  • Southfields
  • Stockwell (Northern line)
  • Stratford (Central line)
  • Westminster (Circle and District lines)
  • West Ham (District and Hammersmith & City lines)
  • Wimbledon
  • Woodford

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.

National Rail

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

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

Greater Anglia will also operate with a special timetable.

London Midland

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.

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There are 91 comments on this article
  1. Jordan D says:

    And it should be noted that First Capital Connect haven’t published their Olympic timetable, nor given any details of any extra trains they are running (if any – they’ve said that the Great Northern Inner Suburban route won’t get extra services), despite BBC London (& me on their report) pulling them up on this. Standard useless behaviour from them.

    As an aside – under DLR it should read Friday 27th July, not Sunday.

  2. John Bull says:

    It’s certainly been interesting seeing the different levels of information the TOCs have put out.

  3. Sean says:

    @Jordan D:

    In fairness to FCC, they’re heavily constrained by the Thameslink network and its upgrade works. Those works are not complete, so they’ve been operating interim / temporary timetables since it began. Even with the best will in the world, you can’t get 24 tph through the central Thameslink core until the resignalling work is completed and the new rolling stock is available. Depots and sidings are also well outside London’s core, so they can’t just park a bunch of trains there either. And London Bridge remains a major bottleneck. They’re stuck with running a railway through what is, essentially, a massive construction site. They’ve already switched off the construction work itself for six weeks. What more do you want?

    Also, the Thameslink network doesn’t serve the major Olympic venues particularly well, so there’s a lot less pressure for extended services. This is the holiday season, so commuters will be fewer, and there’ll be more capacity as a result of that.

    If Crossrail had been built already, your arguments would make more sense, but Thameslink doesn’t even have a decent interchange with the Central Line! It’s going to be of limited value to Olympics fans compared to Southeastern, C2C and Greater Anglia.

  4. Jordan D says:


    In fairness to me, I never mentioned Thameslink! Everyone (rightly or wrongly) seems to think of FCC and Thameslink being one and the same, whereas there is “the other bit” – the Great Northern (GN) Route, which is the bit I live on and the one I care infinitely more about!

    And seeing as the terminus is Kings Cross (opposite from the Javelin service at St Pancras), I’d expect them to have upped their game on that line a lot more.

    And that doesn’t even begin to talk about them not putting late night/weekend services through Highbury & Islington which is an interchange to the Olympic Park via the NLL.

    So, I think I’m well within the bounds to challenge FCC over their GN Olympic planning!

  5. Fandroid says:

    Isn’t there the small matter of lots of people piling off the 24 hr Javelin services at St Pancras and nipping downstairs to the Thameslink platforms only to find that the Olympics don’t exist down there?

  6. Oliver says:

    Of course it is lovely that they are putting on the late night services, but I’ve yet to understand how the large workforce is going to get to the venues to ensure that the Olympics will actually happen. At one point I was going to have to be at Excel at 6am on a Sunday morning, starting from Sussex (probably). There didn’t seem to be any reasonable public transport at that time of the morning so cycling was the only option. Then they banned bikes from the trains for the duration of the Olympics. Fortunately my shifts changed…

  7. Alfie says:

    Why, in the name of all that is holy, is Woodford getting a manual ramp?

  8. swirlythingy says:

    The buses link is broken.

    Why is Cutty Sark closing? It’s a fairly spacious station, certainly not worse than Greenwich. Or do TfL simply hate the idea of convenience?

  9. Greg Tingey says:

    Are there going to be any changes in OvergrounD services – especially into Stratford, of course?
    Presumably, there will ba Glock-armed Plod on every train on that line, because of terrrrrstssssss – given they’ve bllocked-off the canal towpath to cyclists and walkers, and that deosn’t even go into the area, the bastards …
    I note that the Chingford servie if very little changed from normal.
    The Lea Valley-Stratford service is also almost completely unalterd, except in the evening in the down direction, which suprises me.

  10. Darryl says:

    Adding to the Southeastern cuts…

    Westcombe Park and Deptford are dropping to 2tph (usually 6)
    Kidbrooke is dropping to 4tph (usually 6)

    I’ve a suspicion TfL is hanging Southeastern out to try, and waiting for it to screw up to strengthen its claim to run SE London’s trains.

  11. Alan Griffiths says:

    Greater Anglia will also operate with a special timetable.

    which includes closing Maryland

    and doesn’t include allowing me to keep my bike in the secure store at Billericay. Its not finished.
    To avoid taking my bike through Stratford station to catch the 08:21 on Tuesday and Thursdays, I’ll have to get up early to catch the 07:51 (still subject to checking the timetable) from Forest Gate and change at Shenfield.
    Was it for this that I scrounged a whole day of work to vote for outline Planning permission for an Olympic Park?@

  12. Nix says:

    swirlythingy – I can well understand why Cutty Sark will close – short platforms and lots of people to alight will give extended dwell times for alighting passengers if they made it exit only – even on ordinary days people are in the ‘wrong’ part of the train for alighting in spite of the automated announcement and PSA gabbled repeat.
    If it were entrance only, the platforms are narrow and trying to control queuing when you’ve got escalators pushing people down faster than trains can clear them is not an option – turn off the escalators and that means lots of steps and trip hazards.
    Sounds like the stuff horror movies are made of.
    Greenwich has the possibility of organised queuing in the street.

  13. Jordan D says:

    @Swirlythingy – I’d imagine with SDO in use, dwell time is an issue (or maybe passenger numbers waiting for trains is an evacuation hazard?), so they’ve simply closed it. Interesting that above is the first mention I’ve seen of limited entry to Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch.

    Speaking of Hyde Park Corner, which person was left in charge of those signs? Why at platform level at Finsbury Park and Kings Cross are the signs to “Hyde Park” pointing away from the Piccadilly Line and towards the Victoria Line?

    Or how at Kings Cross, the signs for the Olympic Park point towards West Ham – instead of the Javelins above?

  14. Mike P says:

    GAOTG website is a joke.

    Travel advice seems to be “seek alternative routes”. So where’s the alternative route-finding tool ?? Oh yes, there isn’t one.

    Most probably because they’re aren’t any sensible alternative routes for many/most of us.

    Let me see. Dartford to Barbican/Farringdon, usually done by DFD-CST and walking.
    Ticks off options – firstly ignore anything via LBG as that’ll be worse than CST.
    Cycling 13 miles ? Don’t think so, not at my present fitness level.
    About all else I can think of is Bank-Woolwich Arsenal via DLR and then the 96. Everything inside me screams that that’ll be worse than SouthEastern. Picking up the train at WWA seems silly – might as well start the journey at CST.

  15. ngh says:

    The Olympic travel planner ( is worse than use less too – it seem like they have taken the worst of both National Rail and TfL journey planners and added plenty of extra rules in such as avoiding taking the easiest and most sensible route (they then leave a silly note in the FAQ section about why journey times may seem very long).

    An example, I’m going to Dorney for the rowing on a couple of days.

    My guess (confirmed by NR journey planner) for the easiest and quickest journey would be to hop of the train I use when I need to be in the office early at Clapham Junction then get a Windsor line train to Windsor and Eton Riverside to arrive 2 hours before hand to allow time for the shuttle bus and security and 1 mile walk (the ticket leaflet gives helpful advice about comfortable footwear and being health enough to walk lots!). This journey is covered by the Olympic travel card. My guess would be walking would be quicker than the shuttle buses depending on how many they are running…

    What the Olympic journey planner says:
    Get out of bed 3 hours earlier, take 2 night buses and a normal bus to Paddington to catch a train to slough (shuttle buses onwards as riverside). The planner says the train journey isn’t included on the Olympic travel card but the travel leaflet included with the tickets say it does.

    Guess which way I’m going to go?

  16. Antje says:

    @Mike P

    I would gobble all the travel advice into one phrase – avoid it altogether. That’s what I’m doing, Athens from 26th to 6th August.

  17. George Moore says:

    @ Greg Tingey:

    With regards to the Overground, details are unavailable. Well not from TfL nor GAOTG anyway.

  18. Anonymous says:

    National Rail Timetable at NRs website has overground (and others) details in the relevant tables. NLL is basically peak all day.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I agree about the attending the games planner. Purley to olympic park for morning session. Get bus at 0530 to east croydon then change at blackfriars to district then get off at west ham and walk 2 miles. I will go for train to st pancras then shuttle to stratford in the interests of avoiding jubilee line. Plus of course the insanity of geting there 2 hours early. Great for morning session as park doesn’t even open till 90 minutes before.

  20. Martin Phillp says:

    According to NRE, the ELL will run the daytime timetable of 12tph throughout the late evening until around 0200 in the core section.

  21. Disappointed Kitten says:

    Are the special Locog-approved Rail Replacement Bus Services? They could be sponsored by McDonalds.

  22. Steve says:

    SWT are running one extra late night train to Staines. That’s it. Pathetic.

  23. Yokel says:

    Is it over yet?

  24. Lofty says:

    I agree with a lot of what has been said already, most of the official info is rubbish, all waffle, no fact. Vague terms like ‘it might be busier than normal’ or ‘find an alternative route’.
    There are plenty of mistakes in the bus service details document (linked above) for the road events in South West London. No mention is made of Night buses. Road closures will start before night buses finish. There are mistakes on both the text & the map.
    At the top of page 56 it reads ‘Services will return to normal once roads have re-opened and it is safe to do so.’ in the route listing some routes say the will be restored when a road or area has
    reopened, others make no mention. i.e. routes 22 & 33. Will the 22 run at all?
    There is no suggestion of when this will be and I guess TfL don’t know. However from other sources it will be several hours after the cycle race passes through, much later than many would imagine. A few of the many mistakes:
    Page 57 110 will resume when Richmond Road re-opens. the route does not serve Richmond Road. The 290 (which has the same Twickenham terminus) will resume when Heath Road re-opens. Route 285 will run as far as Hampton Wick, once Teddington is open. What about other routes (111, 216, 281, 481?) Route 481 is shown as ‘Suspended’ instead of ‘curtailed’
    On the maps there are more errors. Map 4 shows Mogden Lane in red (no service) both routes are running, H20 as normal and 481 with a curtailment. In Richmond, there should be a section of Red road between the green cycle route & the grey town center.
    page 71, route 33 (a 24 hour route) does not have a start time for diversion, 481 is diverted from 5:00. First bus is at 7:00
    On Page 74 there is a right mess at Fulwell with routes going round in a circle, after they pass their temporary terminus?
    The TfL journey planner has been updated to take the teprary changes into account, but there are mistakes. If you want to get into Twickenham on Sat 28/Sun 29th when all roads are closed, you could take a 267, or if you want to go to Teddington, you could take a 285.

    I could go on. Given the scale of the changes, you could expect a few mistakes, but no where near this number, in just a few pages of the document.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The timetable changes for Overground have been available since the NR National Timetable was published in May. NLL and ELL have an enhanced service, GOBLIN does not. In fact GOBLIN trains will take longer – especially between Upper Holloway and Gospel Oak for some reason – and no enhanced late night services either.

  26. Anonymous says:

    And don’t forget you can’t actually cycle into the park or anywhere vaguely useful near it. Both the Greenway and Lea Navigation towpath are closed!!


  27. Tim says:

    I am attending several Olympic sessions and cultural events at various venues (both as a spectator and a volunteer). I’ve got a good knowledge of transport options throughout London and check recently to make sure things like the trains running later into the night will get me home. I’ve rather happy with the information provided by the online planners. I’m also happy to turn up to a venue and enjoy the extra non-sporting events around the place – even walking through the Olympic Park gardens which are looking stunning – and everything isn’t in bloom yet! All that is needed now is for the party to start!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Bless you, Tim, for being an antidote to the utterly depressing nitpicking and moaning that seems to have become so common place. Hope you have a great time.

  29. Anonymous says:

    im a train driver.thought i would just say thankfully im on 2 weeks holiday over the games.i will be sunning myself on a golden beach.i would like to wish the travellers of london good luck,youll going to need it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to it and it will be fine. I’ll just go the way I want to go, get there in my time and enjoy without stress. And if there’s a queue when I’m not with the family then it will be an ideal excuse to go to the pub!

  31. cyclist says:

    Regular journey planner has gone all wonky as well – tested it on my normal commute last week and it wouldn’t route me through Green Park nor on my (not particularly games-affected) usual bus.

    I will therefore be spending my pre-games planning time making larger and more comprehensive mudguards for my bicycle.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I think all of us that know the London transport system intimately (we all know the right carriage to be in to be near the exit on our daily journey), need to remember that the parents of the athlete from small town Canada or a Pacific island or anywhere other than London really will not know where they are going.

    A lot of people not from London are not used to walking long distances. Whenever I have friends from overseas (or even Newcastle) visiting and take them on the one day walking tour of London from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben to London Eye to Tower Bridge to St Pauls to Covent Garden for a show to Piccadilly Circus for the night lights – they usually have run out of puff about London Eye. Walking is something Londoners do – others struggle.

    The distance from Stratford Gate to the Hockey or Basketball Arena is a good 20 minute walk. I suspect a lot longer if you’re not as fast on your feet as I am. The distance from West Ham gate is a lot lot longer.

    A lot of stations and locations will operate as one way, entrance only, exit only and other adjustments to cope with massive peak flows to keep us all safe.

    The planners don’t quite know what will happen. If it keeps raining will 15000 people really turn up for beach volleyball? Will 15000 people try and leave the beach volleyball early cause it rains, GB loses their game, they decide it’s not the sport for them after all?

    So many reasons to build in lots of extra time to an online journey planner. The last thing I, the family of a visiting athlete or the many spectators will want is to miss an event because TfL/LOGOC didn’t build enough “extra” time into the IT systems that told them how to get there.

    If you know where you are going – then fine – do your own thing, but don’t complain if you’re late or get held up by signal failure or station overcrowding or wrong type of leaves on the line (we all know these things can happen). You have been warned by the powers that be. If you get to the gate early or held in a queue on your way home from work, try talking to the people around, be nice – they are probably going to the same session or having the same experience – you may meet someone with an interesting story – or they might just be interested in yours (probably better if you tell a glass half full story rather than a half empty one though).

  33. Timmy! says:

    Like my namesake, I’m looking forward the Olympic and Paralympic Games over the next few months and am lucky to have tickets to some events. I may take a strange route to one event to use the Javelin service with my Games Travelcard. It should be expected that some people will not look forward these events and poor customer service from TOCs doesn’t help (as indicated in the article). We all know it’s easier to moan or be cynical! Let’s not forget that TfL recommended a quick pint after work as well…

    It is good that some services will have extended hours and more stations will have step-free access. I’d hope that this would create more demand for later, or improved metro, services in the future from customers when franchises are available.

  34. Anonymous says:

    On an unrelated note, I imagine LR’s fact hounds are poring over today’s rail investment announcement as we speak, but does anyone care to give a quick yes/no for GOBLIN electrification?

  35. John Bull says:

    On an unrelated note, I imagine LR’s fact hounds are poring over today’s rail investment announcement as we speak, but does anyone care to give a quick yes/no for GOBLIN electrification?

    I’ll have an initial highlights post up before the end of the day, to which people can add their own thoughts.

    Most interesting thing so far has been the plan to flip London – Southampton to OHLE and the subtle suggestion in various places that Waterloo is going to get a major workover.

    Oh and IEP still refuses to die.

    Anyway, post up in a couple of hours

  36. Anonymous says:

    No to Goblin electrification.

  37. Greg Tingey says:

    GOBLIN – one can hope, given that the Welsh valleys are being juiced.
    Looks like there are going to be 2 (3?) idiot gaps, though…
    Sheffield – Doncaster / Sheffield / Wakefield or Moorthorpe!
    Wasn’t there a mention of Bletchley-Cambridge?

    Details on BBC very thin.

  38. Kit Green says:

    Surely Southampton OHLE is freight driven and will be the route from Oxford, Reading via Basingstoke. Aren’t we constantly told that dual electrification is a technical pain so wires to Waterloo would be a huge issue unless all the Siemens stock is to be retro-fitted with pantographs etc.

  39. Long Branch Mike says:

    Yes to Electro-GOBLIN. Anything that can improve speed & capacity around London is worth the investment.

  40. Pete Stean says:

    The more I see of those signs the more I come to loathe that magenta colourscheme – it’s the colour of a boil on the devil’s backside :\

  41. Anonymike says:

    Southampton AC electrification is only to Basingstoke (then Reading-Oxford-Coventry/Bedford), no attempt to switch the DC lines towards London – it is definitely a freight based change.

  42. David S says:

    Well the only positive i see from all of this for someone outside London is i get a later train on a Sunday night to Southminster, something the locals have been asking for , for a long time! Sad it will be cut back again once all this National Cola/ Mc D big business event has finished.

  43. ngh says:

    Re Greg Tingey 02:39PM, 16th July 2012

    “Anon above is a spammer.”

    Greg, how do you know they are a spammer? You never know they might just have read the actual HLOS (as I have) and found NO mention of Goblin electrification and therefore correctly answered the question i believe was asked by Anonymous 01:36PM, with “No”. I’m in favour of Goblin electrification but I believe that was not the question being asked, I believe “are they going to do it?” was more the real meaning of the unclear question.

    HLOS link:

    Future electrification map:

    Goblin electrification could be done under HLOS items 45, 47 and 51 but is not mentioned explicitly (there are very clear lists), it would need rail and freight industry pressure to get it done.

  44. Pils says:

    Southampton AC electrification is only to Basingstoke (then Reading-Oxford-Coventry/Bedford), no attempt to switch the DC lines towards London – it is definitely a freight based change.

    I believe pretty much all passenger services between SOU and BSK start and terminate outside that area, so I won’t be surprised if they stay DC or diesel. Electric-hauled freight is an intriguing idea, in that I’m a bit bored of seeing 66s at BSK.

  45. John Bull says:

    @ngh – just to clarify, greg was actually commenting about a spammer. You just caught me between deleting the spam comment and modding greg’s post to remove the spam spot.

    Sorry about that. My fault for not having speedy enough fingers.

  46. Greg Tingey says:

    Finally found it

    Read carefully folks!

    Notice it says “includes” so we’llhave to wait for a detailed piece-by-piece annotation to find out waht is in and what has been left out.

    I can see “infill” schemes following-on from this, if the money can be found – look at the gaps on the map…..

  47. Josh says:

    So no wires at Waterloo then?

  48. Paul says:

    25kV AC electrification is Southampton Port – Basingstoke – Reading and north and replaces 750v DC.

    Furthermore, to quote directly from one of the HLOS documents (Railways Act 2005 document, point 37):
    The Secretary of State also wishes the industry to develop a longer-term proposition and business case for the systematic upgrade from DC to AC of the whole Southern network, for consideration for future control periods.

  49. Fandroid says:

    Intriguing for us BSKers. Look hard and you will see that all the GW mainline branches are getting wires. So the ‘Southampton-Yorkshire electric spine’ finishes it off by capturing the Basingstoke branch from Reading too. so every Networker Turbo (except those on the Reading-Gatwick run) can clear off elsewhere. Also, as the route from Oxford to Nuneaton is included, Cross Country services from Manchester to the South Coast can go all electric (if they forget poor old Bournemouth!).

    The SW mainline switches from 4 track to 2 track at Worting junction just south of Basingstoke, so the piggy-bank need not be raided half so heavily compared with trying to do Basingstoke to Waterloo with OLE. It also makes possible that intriguing footnote to the London & SE RUS that mentioned Crossrail services being extended out to Basingstoke via Reading as a relief for the SW Lines into Waterloo. London to Southampton via Reading anyone? The SW mainline south of Basingstoke goes over the line’s summit, so there is a real advantage in having all that electric power available (a) for heavy freight (b) for 125 mph?

  50. Fandroid says:

    JB- IEP might refuse to die, (where else does the GW mainline get its new trains?) but I suspect Swansea electrification has suffocated its GM brother ‘Bi-mode’.

  51. Greg Tingey says:

    Not just all the Networker Turbos, either …
    They can be heavily refurbed, and given another 20 years of life elsewhere.
    The “pacers” operating the Welsh valleys all go to the scrap heap, and probably, so do a lot of others – replaced by the turbos, we’ve just mentioned.
    GOBLIN could easily get through as a “freight” elecrtification, with the passenger bits as an add-on (one can hope so, at least)
    What I find fascinating are the obvious gaps in the electrification(s) “oop North”.
    North of Sheffield to the Doncaster-Leeds line?
    Selby + Doncaster -> Hull? [It’s a major port – see below]
    M/Cr – Liverpool via Warrington (CLC)
    Warwick – Birmingham.
    The aspiration to electrify all major port routes (see guvmint statement) obviously means Felixstowe – Ely – Peterbroro’ …. (Leicester?) as well as Hull, as mentioned above.
    Frankly, only one really major main line is left, isn’t there?
    Exeter – Bristol – Gloucester – (Worcester) – Brum – Derby ( & the connection at the “top” mentioned above.

    After that?
    The higher-use “extremities”, which makes for cheaper through/integrated operations?
    [Plymouth? Worting – Exeter? Oxford – Hereford ?? Crewe – Holyhead? Barrow & Windermere? Newcastle – Carlisle? Tees-side? Grimsby?

    Re-opening Woodhead, rather than knitting in the Hope Valley?
    I assume that Bedford – Cambridge has moved a lot further up the probability stakes, after all of this …..

  52. Littlejohn says:

    Re: Fandroid 09:46PM, 16th July 2012. Look hard and you will see that all the GW mainline branches are getting wires.
    Not quite, they’re not. On the Hants and Berks line electrification stops at Newbury, where I live. Good news? Yes and No. I have a basically half-hour frequency to London plus the occasional stopping 125 to/from Exeter and Plymouth. The problem is that alternate trains start from either Newbury or further out from Bedwyn. I can’t imagine that Hungerford and Bedwyn plus the villages in between will lose their service so presumably every other train from Newbury to Paddington will stay as a Turbo. Does this mean that the financial case for electrification from Newbury to Reading (or at least to the Basingstoke line junction) is shaky and what will be the overall effect on line speeds between Reading and Paddington with the hourly Bedwyn Turbo trundling along the fast lines when everything else is electric? (Apart of course from the West of England services that will still be 125 operated – until the Bi-mode IEP rises Lazarus-like to replace them).

  53. Anonymous says:

    Sadly the cycle hire scheme stops just short of the Olympic park making it just unusable. However I’m confident there wont be a single queue for a cyclist anywhere, as usual. I understand a few key bits of canal path are closing though just for a giggle against us.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Re GOBLIN electrification. It seems the DfT have decided that electrification is entirely a matter for TfL and the Mayor. This is a change to the position that TfL understood was being taken. See Jennette Arnold’s web page for the update she posted yesterday after the HLOS announcement. This “revised” DfT view of life would also explain why there was no mention of any other Overground expansion scheme like 5 car 378s. “Over to you Boris, darling, Love and kisses Justine G, Secretary of State for Transport” (or words to that effect).

    Further it looks like DfT have nicked some of TfL’s ideas for the Lea Valley and stuck those in the “illustrative” list of schemes and services that could happen in London. London’s schemes are being left to the “rail industry” to define – see the relevant section of the HLOS.

    The HLOS clearly states that the industry is asked to identify future in-fill schemes for CP6 implementation. Derby-Birmingham-Bristol is specifically named. Overall quite exciting times if it can all be delivered but TfL face a real struggle given the cuts the govt and Mayor have demanded plus Boris’s other manifesto commitments.

  55. JamesC says:

    To clarify the original post of “there will be no enginearing works on the underground”

    I thjnk the work “planned” is missing in there somewhere? I’d be amazed if nothing went wrong leading to emergency works being needed……

    Let alown the chaos that is going to be caused when the first train stalls in a tunnel or the first car brakes down in the blackwall tunnel…..

  56. StephenC says:

    Waterloo station’s high level balcony opened in full this morning. I had a walk along (no camera…) and the build quality is good with a simple design. Some shops were open (mostly high end retail), but the only additional food place so far is a sushi bar. It was being used though (and lots of Network Rail types cooing at their new build ;-). BTW, my understanding is that this is an Olympic project of sorts, due to Tennis at Wimbledon and sailing at Weymouth.

  57. LU Mole says:

    Yes, there will be engineering works to keep things ticking over but any thing that can wait (longer term maintenance and escecially “project works” like cooling etc) will wait. We also been “encouraged” to “volunteer” as interim customer service assistants (with training) or travel ambassadors. If you see a harassed looking office monkey out on the ground at a station or wearing a pink hivi, please be nice. We’re not used to dealing with the great unwashed.

  58. Pils says:

    09:30AM, 17th July 2012
    Waterloo station’s high level balcony opened in full this morning.

    Good news for anyone after different views of the station. The balcony itself and the views from it should make for some pretty nice photos. (I’m going to try in a few hours.) The walk from the balcony to the WAE footbridge looked a bit rough and ready a couple of months back—hopefully that’s been completed too.

  59. John Bull says:

    @Pils let me know if you get any good shots that you’re happy for us to run, and I’ll do a post.

    HLOS post is imminent, by the way, just doing lots of fact checking (better to be thorough than first etc)

  60. Josh says:

    Pils, will it?

    Isn’t the departures board blocking the way?

    Still good news of course. I like this little project. And I love sushi.

  61. Fandroid says:

    Littlejohn. Yes I was getting a bit carried away about Turbos. I had never understood what was supposed to be happening with the services between Newbury and Bedwyn after the original Adonis electrification announcement. I assumed that the Reading depot would still have a few diesel sets to look after for the branches between there and London and for the Basingstoke and Gatwick lines. Now it’s getting to look as though there are hardly any. My guess is that you can kiss goodbye to any through services from the Newbury-Bedwyn rump to Paddington. You’ll have to change at Newbury or at Reading. Of course, it’s always possible that the wires might miraculously be extended by 13 miles. I guess the North Downs line to Reigate has been parked in the ‘too difficult’ tray. The strategy (and we now seem to have one!) is to convert DC to AC and infilling DC for that line to go electric in the short term is regarded as counter-productive.

    Can anyone count units? If Southampton-Manchester and Bedford-Sheffield go electric, with enough emus ordered to cover those, will there be enough Voyagers and Meridians (with or without pantograph cars) left over to replace HSTs on the GW routes to Exeter & Plymouth? Or perhaps the dreaded IEP bi-modes will be diverted onto those routes, or Plymouth-Bristol-Birmingham-Derby-Leeds/Doncaster-Newcastle-Edinburgh. Oh happy speculation.

  62. Littlejohn says:

    Fandroid. Track layout at Newbury allows an up platform to down line reversal (the former bays to Southampton and Lambourn have long since become car parks). In fact this happens in the evening when a down Bedwyn service stops at the up platform (17.14 – 17.24) to allow a down Plymouth HST (down platform, 17.18 – 17.19) to pass. However I doubt that this could be timetabled in all day so a Bedwyn – Newbury shuttle looks too difficualt.

    I think there is one possible answer. At the moment the Bedwyn train goes to Paddington and stops only at Thatcham, Theale and Reading. The Newbury train is all stations to Reading where it parks in the bay. The solution might be to make Bedwyn the stopper to Reading and Newbury the ‘fast’ train to Paddington. The advantage is that it removes the Turbo from the fast main line into Paddington. The disadvantage is that London-bound Bedwyn passengers will have to change and wait 30 mins at Newbury.

  63. Ian Sergeant says:

    All the branch line electrification on the Great Western, the suggestion from LittleJohn above (which seems to terminate West Country trains at Newbury), the curtailment of the Greenford service at West Ealing with Crossrail, together with Cardiff to Swansea wires, give the prospect of a diesel-free Paddington. Except for one service – the Cornish Sleeper. Thoughts welcome. Marylebone via Greenford?

  64. Littlejohn says:

    @Ian Sergeant 05:28PM, 17th July 2012.

    Sorry if I was unclear. There is no suggestion of any change to the West County services which will presumably still be diesel powered Plymouth to Paddington. The problem lies with the existing service from Bedwyn to Paddington (hourly, alternating with an hourly service from Newbury to give a half hourly Newbury – Reading service). If electrification stops at Newbury what happens to the Bedwyn service? Does it continue to be Turbo operated to Paddington, operate Bedwyn – Reading (both of which seem to be a waste of expensive electrification) or become a Bedwyn – Newbury shuttle with doubtful reversing capability at Newbury?

  65. Ian Sergeant says:

    I wonder. The electrification of the GW branch lines intrigues me. If this isn’t to create a diesel-free Paddington then why is this a priority?

  66. Fandroid says:

    GW branch lines. Except during the peak, those services are all shuttles from the mainline stations to the branch termini. I suspect the electrification is to free up modern (ish) DMUs for replacement of Pacers etc and reinforcing services in those other big cities where the current train lengths are hilarious compared with London services.

    I had also forgotten about the Greenford branch. I don’t remember that being mentioned in the HLOS. Was it? I presume if it remains diesel, it will be transferred to the Chiltern franchise, which is a totally DMU empire.

  67. Anonymous says:

    The Greenford branch was conspicuous by its absence from the proposed electrification map. I wouldn’t be surprised if the branch is near the top of the DfT’s wish list of lines to axe if it was ever allowed. Three of its four stations feature in the ORR’s top 10 quietest London stations while Greenford comes in at number 13, though the figures probably aren’t helped by the 2-car train that runs on the branch and the lack of a Sunday service. I can’t imagine Crossrail’s plans to truncate the service at West Ealing helping the situation.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Re Greenford, from a fleet point of view it might make sense for it to be part of the Chiltern franchise – but since the only rail services that it connects with are/will be TfL’s (Central line & Crossrail), being part of the London Overground would make a lot more sense from a passenger perspective.

  69. Steve says:

    SWT’s non-response to the Olympics is outrageous – one extra late evening train to Staines and that’s it!

  70. Anonymous says:


  71. Fandroid says:

    @Steve — SW have managed lots of announcements telling us that trains to Weymouth will get ‘very busy’

  72. Anonymous says:

    They are complaining about the lack of investment in power supplies to Weymouth in this week’s rail. Apparently all thebolympics money was spent on roads.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Thebolympics was a typo rather than comment!

  74. MiaM says:

    How about 4th rail DC electrification for the Greenford line, and make it a part of the underground network? Ealing B’way – W Ealing would then be 4th rail DC together with crossrail OHLE.

    I know a combination of DC and AC electrification is a challenge but it can be done.

    A good question is then if it should be an extention to the central line, the district line or even the picadilly line (by a district/picadilly swap at hangar lane junction)?

    If it were to be curtrailed at West Ealing, how about changing curve at Greenford, i.e. make it a branch of the central line Ruislip branche. Central london central line – Perivale – South Greenford – Castle Bar Park – Drayton Green – West Ealing (or maybe Hanwell?).

  75. Rich says:

    Somewhat late, but @ Littlejohn 06:25PM, 17th July 2012 – I know Newbury well, and have also pondered the Bedwyn question after electrification. Though I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere, the other alternative that i can see to continuing diesels or extending electrification (which should happen to Exeter as part of the later infill) is to make use of Newbury Racecourse which could be a neat compromise.

    So service becomes electric every 30mins Newbury to Reading/Paddington, one fast and one slow (slow maybe still only to Reading), and potentially all using the bay platform 3. Then there is a new hourly turbo/diesel service Bedwyn – Newbury Racecourse via all stations, which connects on Newbury with the fast electric train to London (or potentially, even knocked back to Pewsey or Westbury to speed up the 125s). True, it removes through Bedwyn/Hungerford/Kintbury trains to Reading/London except for a few 125s in the peaks (which i assume will remain as now), but for the limited number of passengers involved, that should not be a problem, especially as end to end times should be quicker even with the change, assuming good timetabling at Newbury.

    At Newbury Racecouse on the southside are two disused platforms which could easily be bought back into use as stabling for the diesels between Bedwyn runs, which gets them off the mainline, and has only minimal under the wires running

  76. JamesC says:

    So today seems to have been a fitting start to the olympics and the planning that has gone into it. Clearly nobody spotted the defective track at St. Puals during all this planning, until this afternoon. lets see if its running agin by the morning……

  77. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps yesterday afternoon’s problems on the Central Line and Overground were part of a resilience test, training volunteers, security staff and encouraging people to know their alternative travel options?

  78. Fandroid says:

    Inspired by Mr Wiggins and the fact that I grew up close to the North Downs line, I decided to go and see the cycling road race. To my amazement I found that the journey planner shows just about all trains on Saturday will stop at Gomshall. (Normally they are roughly hourly, with the Gatwick ones whizzing through). I checked the FGW website to see if they are announcing this – not a whisper, even when I put ‘Olympics’ in the search box. Oh well FGW obviously don’t want to encourage people to travel by train. Cars are much better (except the A25 and A23 will be closed).

  79. Littlejohn says:

    @Rich 04:11PM, 23rd July 2012

    The suggestion to turn back the Bedwyn Turbo service at Newbury Racecourse station post-electrification has a lot of merit and I confess it had not occurred to me. To ensure full disabled access for Bedwyn passengers the up transfer would have to take place at Newbury but the down transfer at Newbury Racecourse to ensure a cross-platform change in both directions as neither station has a cross-station disabled facility nor is it likely to get one in the foreseeable future. Newbury Racecourse does not appear on the current Network Rail list for Access for All improvements which runs until 2015. Similarly there is no disabled access at Newbury from the bay platform 3 to the down platform1. No doubt the bean-counters will consider all options and go for the cheapest if not the best.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else think that the rail facilities are a bit of a let-down? Consider the four stations closest to the Olympic Park:
    Stratford – fully working. Lovely.
    Stratford International – no international services as Eurostar passes through without stopping
    Hackney Wick – westbound side closed (you can arrive but you can’t leave)
    Pudding Mill Lane DLR station – completely closed during the Olympics

    I know there are all sorts of reasons to do with capacity etc etc but in the five years of preparing for this week, these stations could have been redeveloped substantially to cope. The money was there, but it all got blown on vanity projects like the (admittedly cute) cable car (£60 million) and the (frankly ghastly) ArcelorMittal Orbit (£19 million). For £79 million, could the Olympic Park have had more than one functioning station I wonder? Javelin’s nice, I can’t fault that.

    TfL really missed a trick here – they could have managed crowd flow so much more effectively instead of failing to expand the facilities and then bottling out by shutting stations!

  81. Long Branch Mike says:

    It probably has to do with the anticpated usage level at each of those stations after the Games. No sense rebuilding for large crowds that’ll only last 2 weeks.

  82. anon456 says:

    I know that ‘trains are expected to be very busy’ during the period of the games, so when heading for the 17.06 from Kings Cross (to Cambridge) yesterday, I arrived ten minutes before departure and hoped to find a seat. The train was formed of eight carriages, with an announcement to say it would divide at Royston, with only the front four going forward to Cambridge. Knowing as I do that the train stops about as far away from the footbridge at Hatfield as it’s possible to get, (why? it’s very annoying!!) I tried to get a seat in one of the first three coaches (nearest to the ticket barrier). The train was indeed, as predicted, very full. This was, however, actually because of the sheer numbers of police officers (!) sitting in those first three carriages. Many have been drafted in from other forces, presumably because of G4S’ inability to supply enough people – I heard a lot of Liverpudlian accents in my carriage – and this lot all got off the train at Hatfield too. They’d obviously wisened-up to the fact that it’s a long walk back down the platform if you sit at the front end of the train.Two private-hire double-decker buses then took them from Hatfield Station to wherever it is they are staying. One moment of levity occurred at Potters Bar station, when an alighting passenger bade farewell to a friend who was continuing on to Welwyn Garden City. ‘See you tomorrow, then’ he called out over his shoulder, adding ‘and may the force be with you’ !

  83. Littlejohn says:

    To return to the question of the Bedwyn Turbos, post electrification to Newbury, some clarity seems to be emerging. I think the FGW share of the IEP order includes 58 x 5-car bimodes. The local press in Newbury is now saying that ‘SUPER-FAST, Japanese-style ‘bullet trains’ will be coming to West Berkshire by 2017’. The article goes on to talk about ‘electric or bi-mode trains with 5 or 9 carriages’. Presumably the Bedwyn service will become 5 car bimode changing power source at Newbury. The quantum leap from 2/3 car to 5 will also relieve West Berkshire commuters of the chronic lack of capacity that has seen them consistently near the top of the overcrowding league. Simples.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Been to olympics today. Left Purley at 0622 was in Stratford by 0725. Had to wait for second jubilee train at London Bridge. Big queues for Javelin on way back in afternoon due to technical issues so went back to Stratford Regional for Jubilee. Queues for lifts so carried buggy downstairs bur apart from that all flowing nicely. Got on empty train and it filled up quite comfortably. One way system at London Bridge was a bit of a nightmare, but all seemed to be well organised and working well. Don’t know how much trouble the Central caused this am.

  85. Timmy! says:

    Strangely, or positively, it all seems to be fine. My Monday morning commute to Charing Cross via London Bridge, and my journey to the Olympic Park in the early evening from Holborn, were both very quiet.

    We took the Javelin to the Olympic Park today without problem but there were delays on the way back around 4pm due to trespassers on the tracks. We got directed for step-free access at St Pancras along the platform to the Betjeman pub.

    There are plenty of helpful staff around. As Anonymous says above, some queues with lifts so we carried our buggy but all very good in general.

    Plus, I saw a Bendy-Bus in the Olympic Park carrying staff. Don’t tell Boris!

  86. Anonymous says:

    I saw one of those too. Same thought went through my mind! Going to Malta next week. I believe Arriva exported their bendy buses there – should be interesting on their narrow streets.

  87. Littlejohn says:

    Now that the Olympics have come and gone, I was going to write a comment on some of the more dire warnings of Armageddon that we have seen. However, Ian Visits has done it so much better than I could I think I will leave it to him. See

  88. Whiff says:

    So was it just luck that nothing serious went wrong with London’s transport during the Olympics? Was it good planning and expectation-management from TFL or excessive scare-mongering? Will there will be long-term benefits from the investment made for the Olympics or will the backlog of engineering work actually mean things will be worse in the future? WIll the Paralympics be a nightmare once holiday-makers are back at work and commuter levels return to normal?

  89. John Bull says:

    I’ll happily admit that I was very much in the pessimistic category of people with regards to what it would do to the transport network. By and large though, it appears that the operators did a pretty good job of keeping things moving.

    I’m hoping there’ll be some good post-Olympic assessment of what went well/badly by the likes of TfL. If so then we’ll definitely be keen to try and cover that here.

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  91. Littlejohn says:

    To update the various previous discussions about the future of the Bedwyn – Paddington service once electrification reaches Newbury, local press this week is reporting that DfT is re-evaluating the electrification proposals and is considering extending the wires to Westbury.

    At first sight this seems excessive, since local pressure has only been for electrification to Bedwyn. I wonder if it is driven by operational factors. I assume that the bi-modes will have to be stationary to switch from electric to diesel power? Probably twice as many West of England HSTs stop at Westbury as at Newbury and timetabling a stop at Newbury for every West of England express to change power source might not be feasible. Westbury would be easier since a) more expresses stop there already and b) the line is less busy since the Bedwyn service has already terminated.

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