Subway delays hit London's Olympic Park

August 3, 2012 - 9:37 AM
London Olympics Travel

People in a Central Line underground train wait for the departure at Liverpool Street underground station in London, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. Severe delays were reported Friday morning on the busy tube line serving some Olympics venues on the day that the athletics competition gets under way. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON (AP) — A main subway line to London's Olympic Park was briefly suspended Friday morning on the busiest day of the games so far. But officials said the transit system was coping despite some upheavals.

Some 200,000 people were expected at Olympic Park on the first day of track and field competition.

Transport for London said service on the Central Line, which links central London with the Olympic Park, had been briefly suspended because of a power failure that affected its signals. Officials said full service was resumed by 9 a.m. after a partial suspension that lasted more than an hour.

Olympic fans quickly switched to other lines, causing further overcrowding. At St. Pancras station, where fast Javelin trains run to the Olympic site, lines stretched across the concourse, out the door and down the street Friday morning.

"From what I understand the queues were about an hour for the Javelin — but everybody's got in," organizing committee spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said.

Officials have warned Londoners for weeks that the games would bring pressure and crowding on public transport, but so far the system has largely coped. Transport for London says passenger numbers are up 10 percent on usual levels for this time of year.

Huge crowds thronged the park Friday, the first day of events inside the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which had so far only been used for the gala opening ceremony.

Officials are also restricting access to the Westfield Stratford shopping mall next to the Olympic Park on Friday and Saturday because of the large crowds. Only ticket holders or accredited workers will be allowed into the mall — Europe's largest — during the day.

Games officials say they expect the mall to open as normal after Saturday, expected to be the peak day for Olympic visitor numbers.