"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Friday, August 17, 2007

Olympics 2012 - In Xanadu did Khubla Khan ... getting you to East London .. on time

If your mind is easily boggled - cop this ....there will be 7.9 million spectators in 16 days for the Olympic Games 2012 and 1.5 Million over 11 days for the Paralympic Games....every working day London’s transport systems carry 11 million passengers, with 3 million on the underground and 1.8 million passengers on national rail services.

"London 2012 organisers aim to have all spectators either walking, cycling or taking public transport to the Games. "

That is what the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said in their draft Transport Plan (30/10/07) although athletes and other members of the "Olympic Family", in particular, media and officials, will be transported by fleets of cars, vans and coaches along the 240 km Olympic Route Network (ORN) - including 100Kms of public roads denied public access.

Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (some who has a quiet chat with Tony Blair in his bedroom just before voting) will (quite naturally) be staying in hotels in Park Lane in central London - 22 minutes from the Olympic Village to Hyde Park Corner in normal traffic in the middle of the day the Select Committee on Transport were told (Q 257) Raise eyebrows here, and ponder sellling the idea to "Top Gear" of a new Olympic Event, get from Park Lane to Stratford in 22 minutes in the middle of the day without Police outriders and without breaking speed limits.

The London Olympic Park will be served by ten overland railway and London Underground lines by 2012 - 78% of spectators are expected to start their journeys in London. When all the planned transport projects are complete, 240 trains will deliver spectators to Stratford East Station ****to serve the Olympic park every hour. (Eurostar will miss out Stratford for the duration of the Games - so if you are coming from Paris - forget it)

The "Olympic Javelin" high speed shuttle rail service, will take 7 minutes from King's Cross, St Pancras to Stratford International station carrying 25,000 passengers per hour (Raise eyebrows here) with 1,200 passengers on each 6 carriage train. Pause here to note that the the new high speed trains will be of main line design with fewer doors than suburban rolling stock access will be relatively slow - especially for disabled visitors for Paralympics. They also have 354 seats in single class accomodation.(BBC)

Those passengers not disabled or with children in prams, will presumably be carrying, rugs, cushions, bags with food, drink, newspapers, binoculars, cameras, jerseys, waterpoofs, umbrellas to add to the fun of the event.(Raise eyebrows here)

The good news is that the first of the Hitachi made "Olympic Javelin" ( romantically called Class 395 in the UK) trains which are being supplied in a £250Mn contract for 28 trains based on the Japanese Shinkasen trains for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has shipped from the Kasado factory. It should arrive in Southampton at the end of this month followed by 3 more before the end of the year and the remainder by end 2009.

These will be based at the Channel Tunnel Ashford depot and the first train will be trialled (it has already been fully tested in Japan) in early October. Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is due to become fully operational on November 14 2007. .(Raise eyebrows here) All the trains are to be named after Britons associated with speed - preferably not enhanced by the use of drugs, so ruling out Linford Christie and Jockie Wilson.

****Outside the Olympics, Stratford East (cost £210 Mn.) will be a "ghost" station as it was originally designed that feeder trains from the North, Scotland, Midlands, for the Channel Tunnel railway would deliver passengers here for seamless onward journeys to Paris / Brussels etc., This plan was dropped in 2005 , one year after construction started as budget airlines stole passengers.

More than $30 billion will be spent on London’s transportation system prior to 2012. These include:

1. The extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in east London - 0% capacity enhancement and extension to London City Airport - Plane Crazy where are you ?
2. Extension of the East London line
3. Refurbishment and modernisation of all London Underground stations
4. 45% increase in capacity on the Jubilee Line, which will serve the main Olympic facilities.

The scale of the project, the logistics of passenger / spectator movement, the costs, are truly spectacular - for less than 3 weeks of drug fuelled "sports entertainment" - Lord Patel will be either 1) relaxing at one of his many residences, scattered worldwide 2) indoors watching it on a 76" HD Plasma TV recorded on his Skybox whilst he frolics in daylight hours with nubile girls on a sun soaked beach or one of his many luxurious gin palacesyachts.

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