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Other Olympics

A variety of service enhancements are proposed for the Olympics in London in 2012.

Stratford Olympic Park

Plan of Olympic Park (from the London 2012 bid document)
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The centre of the Olympic events is the planned Olympic Park in Stratford. This is an area bounded on the west by the River Lee Navigation, on the north by Eastway and Ruckholt Road, on the east by the Lea Valley railway, the loop around the railway lands and Carpenters Road, and in the south by the A11.

Current transport links

Existing stations serving Olympic Park are:

  • Stratford (Regional)
    The existing Stratford station will be about 5 minutes outside the Olympic Park to the east. New pedestrian links will link into the park near the aquatic centre. Stratford Regional is already well-served by the Jubilee and Central lines as well as the DLR to Canary Wharf and Lewisham, frequent Great Eastern overground services to Liverpool St and East London, intercity Anglia services to Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, Silverlink's orbital North London Line services to the Royal Docks and to North and West London (linking into key lines such as Thameslink and the West Coast at Willesden).
  • Pudding Mill Lane DLR
    In the middle of the park, Pudding Mill Lane is currently a small halt and would have difficulty serving large crowds, especially as it will be close to the main Olympic Stadium. It will therefore close during Olympic events, to prevent overcrowding and delays to the DLR service to Stratford Regional.
  • Hackney Wick
    Served by Silverlink's orbital North London Line, this is just over the Lee Navigation on the west of the park. It is very close to some key locations and would be useful for travellers from the west arriving via the extended East London Line at Dalston, Great Northern Electrics services into Highbury, and West Coast Main Line services at Willesden.
  • West Ham
    West Ham is crucial to the bid proposals for 240tph serving the site (see later) but it remains about 15 minutes' walk from the park and passengers may find it more convenient to change to Jubilee or new DLR services to Stratford International which is much more central. However, a new pedestrian link will be built from West Ham direct to the Olympic Stadium.
New transport links

The major new transport link to the area will be the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) which can acccommodate domestic services between St Pancras near the centre of London, and Kent. Stratford International is a huge station currently being constructed for the CTRL in the former railway lands which dominated Stratford until recently. It is the biggest station to serve the park, and the most centrally located just to the east and adjacent to the Olympic Village.

A new DLR link from Canning Town is planned to serve Stratford International, which will be a reasonably long walk from the existing Stratford station (Stratford Regional). DLR services will be able to run from Stratford International to venues nearer the Thames at Custom House or Woolwich.

A new station could be constructed right on the edge of the northeast portion of the park at Temple Mills as part of the DLR link to Stratford International. As part of that project, North London Line trains would be diverted to serve this station, close to the Olympic Village.

Key Bid Points

A 5% increase in loadings

Much is being made of the fact that since loadings on the public transport network are already high daily, the extra burden imposed by the Olympics will be minimal since the extra demand is only 5% of normal weekday traffic. It is also noted that since these will be the summer holidays, the usual 20% decrease in commuter traffic will occur. Finally, most traffic is expected to be in the reverse direction to commuting (i.e. out of Central London towards Stratford).

240 trains per hour

The bid team claimed that the Olympic Park will be served by some 240 trains per hour. This is how this seemingly immense frequency will be achieved:

  • Stratford
    • North London Line: 8tph from Richmond, (8tph from North Woolwich*)
    • Great Eastern: 16tph from Liverpool St, 16tph from Essex or East Anglia
    • Central Line: 30tph from central London, 30tph from northeast London
    • Jubilee Line: 31tph from central London
    • Lea Valley Line: 2tph from Stansted Airport, 2tph from Hertford East
    • Channel Tunnel Rail Link ("Javelin" Shuttle): 10tph from St Pancras, 10tph from Ebbsfleet
    • Docklands Light Rail: 10tph from Lewisham, (~10tph from Canning Town or Woolwich Arsenal*)
  • West Ham
    • District and Hammersmith & City Lines: 31tph from central London, 31tph from Barking or Upminster
    • c2c: 8tph from Fenchurch St, 8tph from Essex

* By 2012, the DLR link from Canning Town to Stratford International should be operating and these trains would replace the North London Line ones from North Woolwich.

These frequencies will be achieved through a combination of existing upgrades and improvements to national rail infrastructure (130m to pay for signalling enhancements, platform & station alterations and resilience measures on the North London Line), London Underground enhancement (15m) and DLR capacity enhancement (32m).

Transport Improvements

A summary map of the main "Olympic legacy" improvements to the London transport network has been produced by Transport for London, and is worth consulting in conjunction with this explanation.

CTRL Shuttle ("Javelin")

The flagship transport service is the implementation of a fast shuttle - to be known as the "Javelin" - between St Pancras, Stratford International and Dartford International (Ebbsfleet) on the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link, for the duration of the Games. Such a service would only take 7.5 minutes from St Pancras to Stratford, and would have a frequency of 10 trains per hour (every six minutes).

Trains would also take just 10-15 minutes to continue to Ebbsfleet in Kent, which is close to the M25 and will have a large car park.

The shuttle would require 11m to set up some minor station modifications. This money has already been sourced by the government.

During the shuttle's operating period, Eurostar trains would not stop at Stratford - interchange would be available at Dartford or St Pancras.

Line upgrades

Upgrades are planned for the signalling systems of the Central and Jubilee lines to permit higher frequencies to Stratford - 45% extra capacity was proposed for the Jubilee Line independently of the Olympic bid. A number of other lines will be upgraded before 2012 as part of the SLL, BCV and JNP private partnership contracts.

DLR enhancement

67m of the Olympic transport funds to be provided by the government will go to the DLR. This will fund 22 new DLR vehicles, the upgrading of Prince Regent DLR station which is one of three serving ExCeL where several events will take place, and infrastructure enhancements to permit three-car running between Bank, City Airport and Woolwich Arsenal.

North London Line Upgrade

A 91m permanent upgrade is planned which will increase frequency to 8tph and double train lengths to 6 cars (overall, a quadrupling of capacity). This will be important for serving Hackney Wick station particularly, and for bringing in passengers from north and west London.

To accommodate six-car trains, platforms will be extended where necessary. Power supplies will also need to be upgraded, along with the introduction of some resilience measures to prevent freight operations interfering with passenger operations. Work will take place between 2006 and 2010.

DLR to Stratford International

This is an existing project which will be implemented in advance of the Games (see the link for more details).

Other DLR enhancements
  • The existing DLR station at Stratford will be improved, by locating it to a new site and adding an extra platform.
  • By 2009, DLR trains between Bank and Lewisham will be lengthened to gain 50% extra capacity.
  • By 2008, DLR will have been extended to Woolwich Arsenal on the south side of the Thames.
East London and Greenwich Waterfront Transits

Two transit systems are already planned in the area. These will provide a fully-segregated bus network in two areas - Greenwich Waterfront (Greenwich - North Greenwich - Woolwich - Thamesmead - Abbey Wood) and East London (centred on Barking, with routes radiating to Romford, Ilford, Dagenham Dock and Gallions Reach). The Greenwich route is more pertinent to the Olympics as some events will take place in this area.

Lea Valley Line: Direct to Stratford

Before 2012, two trains per hour will run direct from Stratford to and from Stansted Airport and (separately) Hertford East, both via Tottenham Hale.

Extended evening tube service

For events in the evening, the tube service will run until 0230. During the opening and closing ceremonies, tube services will run all night.

Olympic Route Network

240km of road lanes for vehicles carrying Olympic participants between events at the Olympic village, and events at western locations such as Hyde Park and Wimbledon, would be put into place.

As well as a loop road around the Olympic Park, the following routes would have Olympic lanes:

  • Wembley to Stratford

    via B4557 Gt Central Way, A406 North Circular (Neasden to Redbridge), A12 East Cross Route

  • Wembley to Central London

    via B4557 Gt Central Way, A406 North Circular, A41 (Brent Cross to Regent's Park)

  • Central London to Stratford

    from Parliament Square via A3211 Victoria Embankment, Upper/Lower Thames St to Tower Hill, then A1203 The Highway, Limehouse Link Tunnel, A13 Aspen Way, A102 East Cross Route

  • Within Central London
    • Regent's Park to Hyde Park Corner
      via Baker St, Marble Arch, Park Lane
    • Regent's Park towards Stratford
      via Marylebone Road / Euston Road, Woburn Place / Southampton Row / Kingsway to Embankment
    • Hyde Park towards Stratford
      via South Carriage Drive, Constitution Hill, Birdcage Walk to Parliament Square and onwards
  • Central London to Heathrow Airport & Eton Dorney

    from Hyde Park Corner via A4 & M4

  • Central London to Wimbledon

    from Parliament Square via A3212 Millbank, Vauxhall Bridge, Kennington Oval, A3 (Oval to Tibbet's Corner via Clapham Common), A219 Wimbledon Park Side, Somerset Rd

  • Stratford to Royal Docks

    via A102 East Cross Route, Cotton St, A13 Aspen Way, A1020 Lower Lea Crossing, (Mace Gateway to ExCeL), A1020 North Woolwich Road, Connaught Bridge, Royal Albert Way to UEL

  • Stratford to Greenwich & Woolwich

    via A102 East Cross Route / Blackwall Tunnel, (Millennium Way for Dome), then either A2203 Blackwall Lane, A206 Trafalgar Rd to Greenwich; or A102 and A206 Woolwich Road, A205 John Wilson St, B210 Artillery Place to Woolwich Royal Artillery Barracks

  • Stratford to Weald Park (Mountain Bike Cycling)

    via A12

Parking and Park & Ride

Olympic Family

Parking would be provided at the Olympic Park for the "Olympic Family", with a large coach park for the Family situated adjacent to the Olympic Stadium (access from the A12 East Cross Route at Old Ford interchange).


No parking would be provided at the site for spectators, to prevent massive congestion in the area. Travellers from inside London would be expected to use the public transport options provided, and a number of park-and-ride sites would be set up outside London for those who drive from farther afield. Some 2000 coaches will be used for these operations.

Ebbsfleet Park & Ride

Ebbsfleet (Dartford International) has already been mentioned, as it will be the eastern terminus of the "Olympic Javelin" shuttle service on the high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link. It will have a 9000 space car park about ten minutes from the M25, and would have a 10 minute journey time to Stratford.

Northern Park & Ride (M11/M25)

A 6000 space site will be constructed close to the M11/M25 interchange, with a 25-minute journey time to the site. The drop-off site would be adjacent to A12 and Hackney Marsh, with a wide pedestrian bridge for access into the Park.

Southern Park & Ride (Dartford)

Another 6000 space site will be constructed at the southern end of the Dartford River Crossing, with a 20-minute journey to the site. Drop-off would be off the All (next to Abbey Lane in Mill Meads) with access to the park via the same pedestrian link being built to West Ham station.

Windsor Racecourse Park & Ride (for Eton Dorney)

10,000 spaces would be provided at Windsor Racecourse (just off the A332 dual carriageway which links Windsor to the M4) for a ten-minute bus ride to the rowing events at Eton Dorney.

Wimbledon Park & Ride

Wimbledon already makes use of park-and-ride systems for the Championships each summer, and would use these for Olympic events.

Other proposals

New orbital links (not in plans)

Hackney Council are advocating a number of special services, some building on the East London Line project. Although the bid team push the East London Line extensions as improving transport for the Olympics, they require passengers to change at Canada Water or Dalston to reach Stratford.

By rebuilding an eastern-linking spur (30m) at Dalston, trains from the extended East London Line could head east to Stratford and possibly Custom House for ExCeL. Since some ELLX trains are planned to terminate at Dalston anyway, these services could be extended permanently through to Stratford with this link.

Comment: The current ELL project's Phase One will only reach Dalston Junction, a few minutes' walk from Dalston Kingsland on the North London Line - limiting its usefulness for accessing Stratford.

Hackney also advocate running North London Line trains directly from Stratford to Wembley - this would be achieved by running to Willesden Junction and then up the West Coast Main Line to Wembley Central (already possible).

Comment: The existing direct Jubilee line journey to Wembley Park takes 55 minutes, whereas the geographically more direct NLL service would take around 10 minutes less.
However, using the CTRL "Javelin" service to St Pancras would take 7.5 minutes, followed by a 7-minute change and a 25-minute journey direct via the Metropolitan line to Wembley Park - around 40 minutes, beating the NLL time.
The quickest existing journey time can be 40 minutes via the Central and Metropolitan lines, changing at Liverpool St.

To serve Wimbledon, Hackney advocates either running ELL services via Peckham and Streatham to Wimbledon, or extending the Clapham Junction services via Wandsworth and the curve at Putney onto the District Wimbledon branch - then trains would be able to serve Southfields which is the nearest station to the tennis club.

Comment: This would also require the Stratford link at the northern end to be useful, otherwise a change would still be required at Canada Water.
A direct journey is already possible, at about 55 mins, from the southern side of the Olympic site via Bromley-by-Bow or West Ham on the District Line. A 50-minute journey is possible via the Jubilee Line changing at Waterloo to overground services.


(newest first)
104m for Stratford station upgrade
2007-03-16 17:35:01

The Olympic Delivery Authority will fund the upgrade of Stratford station, which includes full step-free access, an additional Central line platform and two new station entrances.

Olympics transport "an uphill task"
2006-03-21 16:37:41

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has issued a report which says it believes that London will face an "uphill task" to provide the necessary transport for the 2012 Olympics.

Sustrans promote Olympic cycling routes
2006-01-25 09:08:13

Cycling charity Sustrans are promoting a series of key cycle routes linking areas of London to the Olympic site at Stratford. The routes would be based on four primary corridors - the "Elevated Greenway" to Newham (which would be an upgrade of the existing cycle route along the Northern Outfall Sewer), a route to Epping Forest, another to Fairlop Waters and a fourth to New Cross which would have a new lifting bridge across the Thames between Rotherhithe and Limehouse.

London to host 2012 Olympics
2005-07-11 15:27:54

The LTUC has welcomed the awarding of the 2012 Olympic Games to London as fantastic news for transport in London. Extensive transport improvements are planned to come to fruition before 2012.

Olympic Park given go-ahead
2004-09-10 15:41:53

Four councils (Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney) have given planning permission to the proposed Olympic Park at Stratford in East London, boosting London's Olympic bid. The park is situated along the mostly derelict Lea Valley, where transport links will be provided by the new international hub at Stratford.

Three Olympic venues axed to bring events closer
2004-07-07 12:45:23

Following criticism of transport plans for London's Olympic bid last month by the International Olympic Committee, three harder-to-reach venues - Bisley for shooting, Alexandra Palace for fencing and Swinley Forest for mountain biking - have been dropped so that the events can be relocated nearer to the Olympic Village in Stratford.

Free travel planned for Olympic spectators
2004-07-05 13:00:00

At a press conference on Monday, a plan was announced for free public transport to and from events for any Olympic spectator holding a valid ticket. Some 500,000 visitors would be expected in London if the Olympics took place here.

Links & Sources

  1. Official London 2012 site
  2. Sustrans GOAL (proposed Olympic cycle route network)
  3. Evening Standard reports on transport plans

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