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London - Articles and news items

Rail wins gold

Issue 5 2012 / 26 September 2012 /

The railway industry comes in for more than its fair share of criticism. Complaints about punctuality, ticket prices and passenger service are common. Some of it is deserved, but a lot of it is not. Often, it seems our industry is judged by different criteria from others. For example, why is it that journalists so often quote the lowest ticket price between two cities when talking about budget airlines, but quote the highest price when discussing rail services? And why does a coach crash with multiple fatalities merit only a few lines on an inside page of a newspaper, while a rail accident in which there may be only a few injuries is front page news?

Thus it is heartening when rail gets praised for its service – when this happens, we know we must have done really well, given the harsh standards by which our industry is normally judged! Such was the case with the 2012 Olympic Games. There was widespread praise for the way London’s transport system worked during the Games – and that means primarily rail, as our mode was responsible for over half the transport to the Olympic venues.

Partnership key to London Overground transformation

Issue 6 2011 / 6 December 2011 /

In the four years since the launch of London Overground the team behind the unique operator-client partnership has transformed the network into a modern, reliable metro railway that London can be proud of as it prepares to host the 2012 Olympics.

Significant investment by Transport for London (TfL), the transport authority responsible for commissioning all public transport for England’s capital, combined with excellent operational delivery by London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL) has been the key to making it the UK’s highest performing rail network for the past seven consecutive months.

The seven-year London Overground concession, which LOROL started operating in 2007 on behalf of TfL, links 20 of the capital’s 33 boroughs.

It operates 938 trains each weekday, which is more than double the number at the start of the concession, and has quadrupled the number of passengers it carries each day to provide some 100 million passenger journeys a year.

London 2012 – Will better public transport lure people out of their cars?

Issue 6 2011 / 6 December 2011 /

In July 2005, London was confirmed as the host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The bid promised “the most sustainable Games ever”. Cynics may say that a global event such as the Olympics is an inherently unsustainable thing to do; others believe it is a unique opportunity to push the sustainability agenda. As Chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (the independent sustainability watchdog for the London 2012 Olympics) I am responsible for advising senior politicians and informing the public about the sustainability credentials of the London 2012 Games and legacy.

Let’s face it; not having an Olympics at all is the most sustainable thing to do. Call the whole thing off, pack it in. How can you possibly justify tens of thousands of tonnes of concrete and steel, millions of logistics and people movements, disruption to biodiversity, noise, dust and disruption to people’s lives in the name of sport? At the Commission we believe this is possible only if the net sustainability gains from the influence of London 2012 are greater than the sum of the losses.

Transport and logistics are at the heart of a sustainable London 2012. Without transport, the Games would not be possible, and transport provides a unique opportunity to deliver social, economic and environmental sustainability in ways previously unheard of. We may even get people talking to each other on the Tube!