London 2012 spectators travelling by rail to Olympic and Paralympic sporting venues throughout Britain will benefit from special Games train tickets and extra services, it has been announced today.
Train operators, including Virgin Trains, have been working with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to offer Olympic and Paralympic spectators the chance to buy rail tickets and book seats a full year in advance, allowing them to plan their travel as soon as they have their sports events tickets.
The 2012 Games train fares, which will be able to be purchased through a dedicated website covering all the country’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 be unexpectedly rescheduled, or if they simply wish to remain longer.
Atos Origin, a leading provider of rail retail solutions in the UK and Worldwide IT Partner to the Games, has been chosen as preferred supplier to provide the booking website.
Train services will also be boosted to get spectators to and from events. Longer trains and thousands of additional services starting earlier and finishing later will be provided for customers across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, giving spectators time to enjoy the events, socialise and get home safely.
A special Games train timetable, developed by train companies and Network Rail, will be announced prior to train tickets going on sale this summer. Network Rail has suspended all improvement works on rail routes serving venues for almost three months next summer, starting four weeks prior to the Games through until the end of the competition.
As well as travel to London, 2012 Games train fares will be available for travel to and from all other cities hosting Games events: Coventry, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Weymouth. Ticketed spectators travelling to London will also be given a Games Travelcard with their London sports event ticket, allowing them to reach their final destination venue via National Rail or Transport for London services.
Virgin Trains’ 2012 Games Co-ordinator, Natasha Grice, said: “It’s great that people will be able to plan their travel to Games venues when they buy their event tickets. 2012 suddenly seems much closer. Virgin Trains will be carrying on with detailed planning to ensure that spectators and visitors to Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester and London have quick and comfortable journeys to their destinations.”
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Being a spectator at an Olympic event represents a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for millions of people in the UK and abroad, and the rail industry is committed to offering fast, flexible, reliable and affordable travel for them. Train companies have been working hard for months, alongside Network Rail and the ODA, to create a rail ticket for the Games that allows advance booking up to a year, and flexible travel conditions.”
ODA Transport Director, Hugh Sumner, said: “We have worked with the train operators to stage a Games built around public transport. Spectators will benefit from a service that will help them book their journey well in advance. This demonstrates how the transport industry at large is focussed on bringing all travel modes to life for the Games.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: “London 2012 is a Games for the whole nation, and we want as many people as possible from all around the country to get to the Games. With Olympic and Paralympic Games tickets on sale to the public from 15th March to 26th April, these new 2012 Games train fares from Britain’s train companies will help spectators plan their Games.”
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “London 2012 will be a great festival of culture and sport and transport will be a vital part of delivering a successful Games. A key part of this is getting spectators to events as easily and efficiently as possible and I welcome the introduction of 2012 Games train fares, which should enable people to enjoy the benefits of rail travel to reach Olympic and Paralympic venues around the country. It will ensure that, whether you live in Teesside or Truro, you can get to the Games.”
Benefits of 2012 Games train fares include:
- Tickets with seat reservations can be booked a year in advance - a UK first - and will go on sale shortly after customers are notified what event tickets they have been allocated in June.
- Spectators with tickets for services without reserveable seats can board any train on the date of travel. The return journey can be made on the day of the ticket and up to noon the following day - allowing for late finishes, overnight stays and to stagger demand.
- On trains with reserved seats, spectators can choose to return on a later journey than booked if an event runs late or they are delayed. Their ticket will be valid for up to three hours after the original service booked or by the first available journey if none is scheduled sooner.
- Users will benefit from being able to rebook train tickets in the unlikely event of an Olympic or Paralympic event being rescheduled to another time or date. Those wishing to change their booking for any other reason can do so free-of-charge in the first instance, plus any difference in fare.
- Spectators will also be able to make use of national Railcard discounts and the standard 50% child discounts will apply.