The Olympic and Paralympic timetable, being drawn up by Network Rail and train companies with input from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), will include:
More than 2,000 extra services during the Olympic Games;
More than 1,500 extra services during the Paralympic Games;
Earlier starts to services;
More maximum-length trains;
Extended peak-hour periods offering more frequent trains and;
Later evening trains leaving London to reach major cities.
The railway industry has worked with the ODA to develop the timetable earlier than usual, so spectators can buy tickets and book seats from late June 2011 – more than a year before the opening ceremony. The Olympic Games run for 16 days from Friday 27 July to Sunday 12 August 2012, with the Paralympic Games running for 12 days from Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 9 September.
David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “The Olympics is about sport, not transport. Our job during Games time is to provide smooth, seamless journeys for spectators travelling to and from Olympic and Paralympic venues, whilst continuing to offer the service which keeps millions of people moving across Britain each day.”
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “The rail industry is committed to offering fast, flexible, reliable and affordable travel for the millions of spectators expected at Olympic and Paralympic events. As well as being able to book their London 2012 Games train fares up to 12 months in advance – a UK first – spectators will also be able to take advantage of thousands of extra services, earlier starting and later trains to make sure they don’t miss a second of the action.”
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “For the Games to be a massive success we need effective transport links that can get the millions of sports fans where they need to go, when they want to travel. This work demonstrates how the transport industry at large is focussed on bringing all travel modes to life for the Games.”
Peter Hendy, London’s transport commissioner, said: “All London 2012 transport improvements are on track and Londoners are already benefiting from this early Games legacy. We’re confident we will get all athletes, officials and spectators to their events on time, and keep London and the UK moving. To ensure everyone can get to and from their events and enjoy all that London has to offer the Tube will also run around an hour later than normal, with extra services running later in the evening during the Games’ busiest days.”
Hugh Sumner, ODA director of transport, said: “Travelling to the Games will be very much a part of the spectator experience and we need to get it right. The UK’s transport network has responded to the requirement for enhanced services during London 2012. Longer, later and more frequent trains are being provided to ensure as best we can that spectators are able to get to their events on time and get back home afterwards – even if they decide to stay for a bite to eat or a sports session overruns.”
Nearly 4,000 additional services will run during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with services boosted to venue cities and on main lines across the country. Network Rail has recently upgraded the London Overground network so it can carry more than three times the amount of people into the Olympic Park, and a signalling upgrade on High Speed 1 will allow an increase in Javelin® services between London St Pancras International and Stratford International.
During the Games, demand will be very different. The normal morning and evening peak hours will be extended and there will be a third peak when the Olympic Park or other venues close, meaning longer services all day in and around London with more carriages in the hours before and after events at host cities around the country.
A number of additional early trains will run, at full-length, from major cities to ensure spectators can reach London in time for events with morning start times.
The biggest boost for services in the Olympic timetable is the number of additional late-night services for spectators to get home after events. In many instances trains from London to major cities are planned to leave several hours later than usual.
Standby trains will also be available at some London terminus stations should events run later than planned and to allow for late-notice changes to Olympic schedules.
The Tube will run around an hour later than normal during the Games and extra Tube services will also run later in the evening on the Games’ busiest days. This will see the last trains leaving the Olympic Park at around 1.30am and central London around 2.00am, with trains reaching their final destinations before 2.30am.
Disruption-free Olympic summer
So trains can run later and start earlier, Network Rail has suspended all disruptive engineering works on rail routes serving Olympic venues for almost three months next summer. Key routes will be kept clear from the end of June to early September, starting four weeks prior to the Games through until the end of the competition. As well as lines that directly feed venues and suburban and metro routes across London, mainline rail routes across the country will be free of disruptive improvement work.
Transport for London is also suspending all planned weekend engineering closures on the Tube network during the summer of 2012.
Flexible, value for money train fares
The 2012 Games train fares, which will be available to buy from late June through a dedicated website covering all Britain’s train operators, will offer passengers good value for money and will allow for discounts, such as with Railcards, to be used on top. They have been designed to be flexible to enable spectators to change the time they return should an event run later than expected, or if they simply wish to stay longer.
2012 Games train fares can to be used by event ticket holders to travel to and from London and all cities hosting Games events: Coventry, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Weymouth. Ticketed spectators travelling to Games events in and around London will also be given a free Games Travelcard with their Games event ticket, allowing free travel within zones 1–9 on the London public transport network throughout the day of their event. For other Games destinations, the ticket is valid to the closest National Rail station to the venue.