A variety of service enhancements are proposed for the Olympics in London in 2012.
Stratford Olympic Park
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:
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:
* 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).
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.
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.
£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
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:
Parking and Park & Ride
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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