One of London's main Olympic transport routes failed its first major test ahead of the Games yesterday when tens of thousands faced severe delays as they journeyed to the Olympic Stadium to watch a dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony.
As 60,000 people filed out of the stadium, large parts of the Central line – which runs from central London into Stratford – were closed. Long queues formed outside the station as thousands of people were forced to find alternative ways home.
Passengers also faced delays on several other key Olympic routes yesterday, as No 10 warned that traffic restrictions coming into force this week would bring more disruption.
The Jubilee line, which connects Stratford to Canary Wharf and central London, and is predicted to be the busiest route of all during the Games, was subject to lengthy delays during rush hour owing to a fault with protective doors at North Greenwich station, the stop for the O2 Arena. The Docklands Light Railway was also delayed after signalling problems in east London at Canning Town.
A signal failure at Canonbury in north London also affected the London Overground network which connects Stratford in east London with Richmond in the far west. Almost the entire service was affected.
On the roads, delays of up to 90 minutes were occurring on the M40 coming into London from Oxfordshire and the Midlands, a consequence of the first road restrictions coming into place on the A40 in west London. Other restrictions on the A12 and A13 in east London led to delays of up to two hours. All of the "Games lanes" for the use solely of Olympic traffic come into force tomorrow.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister's spokesman was candid about the ordeal facing London commuters, saying: "The reality is that there is going to be disruption."