London 2012: First weekday of Olympics tests public transport


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Olympics visitors and commuters faced their first transport challenge this morning after being warned to avoid London Bridge station.

Today is the first real test of the capital's public transport network and how it will cope with the Games.

It will be one of the busiest at London Bridge of the entire Games with an extra 69,000 passengers in addition to the usual daily total of 204,000.

This is mostly because of the large number of people using London Bridge to head for the equestrian individual and team events at Greenwich Park, just two stops away on the mainline.

Others will use the station to connect with the Jubilee line for direct access to the Olympic Stadium at Stratford.

Games visitors will also be travelling against the commuter flow exacerbating the problem.

Those travelling home this evening using Southeastern and First Capital Connect won't be able to use the station to gain access to platforms 1-6 between 6pm and 10pm.

Instead the advice is to use alternative stations such as Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Victoria or Blackfriars.

Commuters using South West Trains services into mainline Waterloo this morning reported even more crowded conditions that usual - and much earlier.

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) will have have its busiest day of the Games with Canary Wharf and Bank being most congested.

Cutty Sark DLR station will be closed until 8pm this evening.

Olympic events are taking place across the capital at the Olympic Park, ExCeL, North Greenwich Arena, Greenwich Park, Royal Artillery Barracks, Horse Guards Parade,

Earls Court, Lord’s Cricket Ground, Wimbledon and Wembley Arena.

During the Games, up to one million extra visitors are expected in London every day, making an additional three million journeys over and above the usual 12 million daily journeys on public transport.

On the Tube the following lines and stations will be at their busiest;

*Central line between Chancery Lane and Stratford; busiest stations Bank, Bond Street, Chancery Lane, Holborn and St Pauls;

*District line between Earl's Court and Southfields. Busiest station Fulham Broadway. If you want to avoid the queues at Stratford try West Ham for the Olympic Park instead - 20 minute walk and lots of signs.

*Jubilee line between Wembley Park and Stratford. Busiest stations Bond Street, Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Southwark.

*Northern line between London Bridge and King's Cross St Pancras. Busiest stations Bank, Euston, King's Cross St Pancras, London Bridge and Old Street.

*Piccadilly line between Holborn and Earl's Court. Busiest stations Holborn and King's Cross St Pancras.

*DLR between Canning Town and Prince Regent and between Bank and Greenwich. Busiest stations Bank and Canary Wharf.

Mike Brown, London Underground’s (LU's) managing director, said: “After a fantastic weekend of sport, people are reminded that today they are going back to work in an Olympic City. With hundreds of thousands of spectators going to events across the capital, including 50,000 people travelling to Greenwich for the Equestrian event, it’s vital people plan ahead to avoid the travel hotspots and therefore delay and disruption to their journeys.

“London Bridge is a travel hotspot that will be exceptionally busy, so spectators going to the Equestrian event at Greenwich Park are advised avoid the station. Don’t chance it – plan ahead at and follow the advice of our staff and Travel Ambassadors, who are there to assist both spectators and our regular customers.”

These roads will be at their busiest and should be avoided if at all possible; A4 Corridor (Earl's Court.) Shepherd's Bush roundabout to Fulham Broadway, Turnham Green and Knightsbridge. A40/A406 (Wembley Stadium and arena.) Neasden to Acton and Hanger Lane. Chelsea and Wandsworth (Wimbledon.) Putney Heath to Vauxhall, including Wandsworth Town Centre. Blackwall Tunnel (Greenwich and Royal Artillery Barracks.) All approaches to the tunnel. Greenwich town centre (Greenwich Park.)

Stratford (Olympic Park) and St John's Wood (Lord's Cricket Ground.)

First Great Western passengers into Paddington and Chiltern Railway users into Marleybone suffered long delays due to a signalling problem at Banbury.

Trains were forced to a crawl through the area adding half an hour to journeys.

Mayor Boris Johnson praised commuters and Games visitors for heeding travel advice and taking alternative routes to avoid the hotspots.

As the traditional Monday morning peak started to build he said: "So far things have gone pretty well, touch wood.

"People are getting the message about London Bridge and the large numbers we are expecting at Greenwich because of the equestrian events.

"It is going to be a big day but we think our arrangements are going to cope."
At 8am a Network Rail (NR) spokesman stationed at London Bridge to gauge congestion said: "If anything the station has fewer people than during a normal monring peak.

"All lines are working well. Commuters and visitors alike have clearly taken our travel advice and are using alternative routes and stations - for which we thank them very much indeed."

He warned, however, that conditions at the station could be "very different this evening" as commuters returning home merged with tens of thousands of Games visitors heading back from various events.