diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 08, 2012

This summer, if you've got tickets to events in the Olympic Park, London 2012 are going to try to persuade you to travel via West Ham station.
If you are travelling from Victoria, Embankment, Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Kings Cross, Euston, Marylebone, Mile End or Liverpool Street stations you can travel via the District or Hammersmith and City Line direct to West Ham and access the Olympic Park via the Greenway Gate entrance (approximately a 20-minute walk). London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster stations are all near stations served by the District and Hammersmith and City lines.
If you're travelling to the Olympic Park from Mile End or Liverpool Street you might think it more sensible to take the Central Line. If you're travelling from London Bridge, Waterloo or Westminster you could, surely should, take the Jubilee line. But 2012 transport planners don't want you to think that, because they reckon the Central and Jubilee will be rammed enough. They want you to travel to West Ham and then walk a mile to the Olympic Park, sacrificing your legs for the travel needs of others. Who knows, if the queues at Stratford are bad it might just be quicker.

On Saturday, for one day only, London 2012 tested out the walk along the Greenway from West Ham. Tens of thousands of spectators were expected at a variety of test events in the Park, so the entire Greenway route was opened up in the hope that people might actually use it. I took advantage of full public access and followed the route - inbetween the "rush", if ever there was one. And here's what I found, in case you're thinking of walking this way when the Olympics come round.

West Ham: Jubilee, DLR and c2c punters are directed out the front of the station, where a big pink sign says 25 minutes to the Olympic Park. That'll have been a surprise to those who'd read 20 minutes in the email, but once you've got this far it's too late to complain. District and H&C passengers, on the other hand, get a special new exit all to themselves [photo]. Pink signs direct you the "wrong" way up the platform to a special set of temporary stairs - up 27 steps, across the eastbound line, then back down 27 steps [photo]. Keep walking, back along a temporary raised gangway, then down another two dozen steps to a car-park-type area. Enjoying the trek so far? [photo]

Manor Road: There are now 22 minutes to go, as the crowd walks past a conveniently sited police station. You'll be walking along the road, which has been half coned-off, and all normal traffic banished. Thinking of catching the 276 bus to West Ham during the games? Forget it, it's being diverted elsewhere.

Up to the Greenway: There are steps up to the Greenway, new steps, that'll be open from now until the Games take place [photo]. It says 20 minutes at the bottom but 25 minutes at the top, or at least it did on Saturday, as if this was a time-travelling staircase. For less mobile visitors there's a lift, which is thoughtful. And there's also a long ramp up to sewertop level, with an even less logical pink sign at the top. Onward to the Olympic Park no time is given, whereas back down towards West Ham it's apparently 18 minutes to the station. Er, no, it's more like five. Someone's printed the 18 minutes in the wrong place - it should be the time to the Olympic Park not the time to the station. This error is confirmed by the next sign along, closer to the Stadium, which declares it's only 10 minutes to West Ham. If anyone from LOCOG's reading, the dodgy sign is coded OPK_MIN_514. You've got 80 days to get it sorted. [photo]

The Greenway: The next sign is at Canning Road, 15 minutes to the park, and the next at Abbey Mills, 8 minutes. I walked between the two in four minutes, rather than the designated seven, but then I'm a healthy bloke, not a family with a granny and a pushchair. Abbey Mills looks spectacular, very much the highlight of the walk, and it's clearly had a major spruce-up recently. As yet, however, there's no indication to passers by that this ornate masterpiece is actually a sewage pumping station, none except a nagging lingering smell. Keep walking. [photo]

Stratford High Street: At last, the boundary of the park is in sight. A special footbridge has been built to carry the expected crowds over this main road [photo], AND there's a new pedestrian crossing at ground level, direct [photo]. The latter should remain in place once the Games are over - we are truly blessed. This footbridge is a monster, six lanes wide, and still smells of fresh-cut timber [photo]. Access was unrestricted at the weekend, so I wandered across a few times to enjoy the view. I've never had the chance to look down on Stratford High Street before [photo], especially not towards the Bow Flyover and home [photo]. But Games spectators will probably be hemmed into the central four lanes, screened-off on both sides, and won't get the chance. Look north, however, and the Olympic Park is laid out before you...

The Greenway Gate: Here we are, finally, at one of the four new entrances to the Olympic Park [photo]. This one's for those of us living to the south, or walking from West Ham, or arriving by park-and-ride shuttle. The route's been sealed off for the last two years thanks to Crossrail work, but will open again (for four weeks only) during the Games. A large concrete plaza provides potential queuing space, and includes an exceptionally cheap "artwork" (a royal insignia created out of 60-odd Jubilee Greenway paving blocks). The entrance to the Olympic security zone is off to the right, and frisked spectators then get to walk along a raised wooden walkway into the Park. I remember when all this was undergrowth and riverbank, and now it's the frontline in the battle against global terrorism. If you don't mind a long walk, maybe you'll experience it in the summer.

And when the time comes to leave the Olympic Park via the Greenway Gate, what then? If you climb the footbridge and head back to West Ham, a sign tells you it's 25 minutes walk. I did it in 15, but that was with absolutely no shuffling or queueing. If however you pass by the footbridge and escape onto Stratford High Street, there are quicker options available.
» If you turn right, Bromley-by-Bow is the same distance away as West Ham, but with shorter queues.
» If you turn right, Bow Church DLR is a bit closer than West Ham, if you dare risk cross the Bow Roundabout.
» If you turn left, Stratford station is closer than West Ham, and with no nasty roads to cross (but probably very busy).
» If you turn left, Stratford High Street DLR is closer still, about half as far away as West Ham, just don't expect anybody official to tell you that.


August 2012 update: The West Ham deception


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Saturday 12 April (10.30-4.30)
RT 75: Route 22 rides again
Ride a free heritage bus from
Hackney to Piccadilly Circus.
(Rides on RT1 are £10 extra)

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
tired of london
thelondonphile
in the aquarium
christopher fowler
thamesfacingeast
one bus at a time
london daily photo
london reconnections
150 great tube things

read the archive
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv