Chaos for spectators after trains suspended on key Tube line

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TICKET-HOLDERS faced travel chaos on the first day of the athletics competition after one of the main Tube lines serving the Olympic Park was suspended in east London.

A signal failure in Bethnal Green meant the Central line was suspended eastbound between Liverpool Street and Leytonstone, causing severe delays as hundreds of thousands of people made their way to events.

Passengers were told to use national rail services from Liverpool Street or take the District and Hammersmith and City lines to West Ham station and walk the rest of the way to the park.

Some were left waiting for up to 40 minutes in queues snaking down the road outside St Pancras station for Southeastern’s high-speed Javelin services to Stratford International yesterday, traffic information service Inrix said.

A spokesman for Southeastern said it was only a little busier because of the Central line suspension and all its trains had been running on time.

“The only issue is people have had to queue to get on the platforms to the trains,” he said.

There were also delays of just under an hour on the Docklands Light Railway between Stratford and Canary Wharf yesterday morning because of a signal failure at Poplar.

Organisers said queues at the Olympic Park were up to an hour long yesterday morning but all ticket-holders were able to access the events. The Central line service later resumed, but was still running with severe delays.

Train companies will provide more than two million extra seats this weekend as the Olympics builds up to what is predicted to be one of its busiest phases, the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said.

Yesterday, 567,736 additional seats were provided and there were nearly 4.25 million in total, the highest number in a single day since the Games began. An Atoc spokesman said: “As Team GB wins more medals and Olympic excitement mounts, train companies are running huge amounts of extra seats from first thing in the morning until the early hours the next day to get spectators to venues, to line the streets or just to join in the fun and then safely home again.

“A big thankyou to passengers who, by keeping clear of transport hotspots and staggering journeys where possible, have helped the railway to run smoothly. We urge everyone to keep planning ahead because we expect the next few days to be the busiest so far.”

Transport for London said Tube passenger numbers are already up 10 per cent on usual levels, with journeys to “key West End stations” up 12 per cent.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the transport network would “stand up”, adding: “There will be difficulties, there will be imperfections, but it’s holding out very well.”