Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 15:58 UK
Fast, impressive and essential

Javelin train
London Mayor Boris Johnson arrives on the high speed Javelin train at Stratford Station

Tom Edwards, BBC London's transport correspondent, travels on the first Javelin train from St Pancras to Stratford.

There's no doubt the Javelin trains are quick. Six minutes and 15 seconds was being widely quoted as the time it took from St Pancras to Stratford by press officers, spin doctors and the like.

Out of the 45 things we told the IOC we'd complete, almost all are now in operation.
Hugh Sumner, Olympic Delivery Authority

Journalists thought it was more like 6 mins and 45 seconds but, either way, it was impressive and Londoners aren't going to quibble over a service being early.

The Javelin trains will be the real workhorse of London 2012, ferrying thousands of passengers from central London and Kent but there will be other options for the spectator and they are going to be vital.

Organisers want 97 per cent of visitors to travel by public transport as there will be no car parking at London 2012.

That means, although it might not be as striking as the Olympic stadium or the Aquatic centre, public transport is absolutely crucial to London 2012.

The world champion 15-year-old diver Tom Daly and the other athletes walked past onto buses taking them onto the Olympic site while transport chiefs, standing in a thin layer of mud, outlined progress so far.

Good transportation

By their own admission it wasn't a glamorous press conference.

Stratford is pretty well served anyway and by 2012 there will be 10 train lines. That will include the currently non-operational Stratford International where the Javelin stops.

The DLR extention from Canning Town to Stratford is well underway.

Four months ago I visited the Stratford DLR station and then it was a concrete shell.

Now, there are tracks down and plans for four extra stations on the route; Stratford High Street, Abbey Road, West Ham and Star Lane.

It will mean you'll be able to get to the Olympic site from City airport without changing trains.

The DLR trains will be longer - three cars - and parts of the line are being upgraded to take them. Olympic bosses say they are on schedule and on budget.

Hugh Sumner, director of transport, Olympic Delivery Authority said: "We've got the final extension of DLR, that will open this time next year.

"We're wrapping up the East London Line that will be finished next year. The North London Line, Stratford international. Out of the 45 things we told the IOC we'd complete, almost all are now in operation.

Union support

"Woolwich Arsenal extension, the Jubilee upgrade, City Airport upgrade, High Speed 1 and Javelin trains in operation. There's a lot of stuff there making a difference for London and the South East."

Javelin train
Stratford will be well served transport-wise

But away from the headlines there was trouble on the tube today on the Hammersmith and City Line and the District line due to over-running engineering works.

You can only imagine how embarrassing a major transport failure would be in three years' time. And on transit system failures do happen.

Most of the upgrades should be in place a good year before the opening ceremony to give it time to bed in.

There are then other challenges; Olympic bosses will need the full support of the unions.

Although all are pro-2012, they do have concerns about pay and late night working and budgets everywhere in transport are getting squeezed. One can't rule out some upgrade work on the tube deferred.

Transport bosses are confident but not complacent. They also talk about buses, cycling and walking to the Games. Although, the majority will arrive by train.

As one of the transport chiefs said: "If we don't hear anything about transport for the duration of the Games for us that will be a success."

That's what they're aiming for. Three years to go.

On board the 'Olympic Javelin'
27 Jul 09 |  UK
Three years and counting to 2012
27 Jul 09 |  TV & Radio
Tour of the Olympic site
27 Jul 09 |  TV & Radio


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific