London trains OK despite Olympic traffic according to Eastbourne commuters

COMMUTERS have yet to experience any major problems with trains as a result of the London 2012 Olympics, according to Gazette readers who braved the journey on Monday.

Passenger groups had warned services to the capital could be overwhelmed by the extra demand during the Games and many London firms gave workers the option of working from home or taking holiday rather than tackle the anticipated squeeze for seats.

However, local commuters told the Gazette their trips had been relatively trouble-free.

Rail operator Southeastern is running an extra 200 trains into London every day during the Olympics and there are also additional services from Eastbourne after organisers LOCOG worked with train firms to find out where ticket holders lived and would be travelling to events from to make sure supply met demand during peak times. And, according to Gazette reading commuters, the measures seem to have worked.

Twitter user ‏@mundial78 tweeted, “This was the crowds squeezing through Hampden Park to get up to London at 7.30am,” before posting a picture showing a completely empty station, while fellow passenger Tony Walker said, “‏Everything seems fine to Victoria. No problems on district line yet.”

Andy Hill did experience some difficulty during his Monday morning commute, but not because of the Olympics. He said, “Victoria train reduced to four carriages so very busy with lots standing, not Olympics related just lack of coaches apparently.”

Southeastern is confident it can continue to provide a good service over the coming days of competition, but has told passengers to avoid London Bridge if at all possible.

Yesterday the station was expected to welcome 50,000 spectators heading for Greenwich Park and because of the high demand London Bridge was exit only during the hours of 6pm and 10pm, with sports fans told to instead use Charing Cross, Canon Street, Victoria or Blackfriars.

A spokesman for the firm said, “London Bridge station will be extremely busy throughout the entire Games period.

“Southeastern is serving more Olympic venues than any other national overground train company. Throughout the Games we’re carrying an extra 110,000 people (up to 25 percent more people) every single day on average.

“There’ll be more trains than normal on a Sunday and extra late night trains to get people home in the evening after events.”

Those planning on travelling to the capital during the Games should visit www.getaheadofthegames.com for advice on avoiding hotspots.

One beneficiary of the surge in demand could be local Eastbourne firm CoHub, which runs a town centre hotdesking centre for freelances or people working from home.

When asked if the facility was expecting to be busier during the Olympics a spokesman said, “Well, we predict it will be easy to work from here than commute.”