Friday, August 3, 2012

Kings Cross St Pancras Olympic travel update 3rd August

Paralympics updates:

If things change for the Paralympics we will publish them here.

Sunday 2nd September: some reports via Twitter of long waits for Javelin trains after the evening session in the Olympic stadium. I was at the event and used the Victoria Gate which has no crowds and is very near Bridge E if you are in that part of the stadium. I then took a number 8 bus into central London from this stop - very quick and stress-free journey. The Jubilee and Central Lines from Stratford don’t appear to have had problems either.

Saturday 1st September: there were minor queues for the Javelin trains this morning for the first Paralympics athletics session in the Olympic stadium, with waiting times of only a few minutes.

Friday 31 August: there were no queues for the Javelin trains this morning for the first Paralympics athletics session in the Olympic stadium.

Thursday 30 August: after some searching, we have found confirmation that print-at-home Paralympics tickets can be used on Javelin trains without a Games Travelcard.


Print at home tickets can also be used on Transport for London (TfL) services:

“TfL staff will allow spectators to travel on services operated by TfL as long as they have a print out ticket or confirmation they have purchased Paralympic tickets for that day…. Print out tickets and ticket confirmation will be valid on the following services: DLR, London buses, London Underground and London Overground. They will also allow you to travel on river services with a 1/3 discount. Print out tickets and ticket confirmation are not valid on the Emirates Airline.”

which comes from this page.

Original post:

This is a follow-up to our Olympic travel page.

Today was the first day of athletics events in the Olympic Stadium, meaning that more than double the number of people would be heading to the Olympic Park this morning than previously. So how did the system cope?

I was mainly concentrating on the Javelin trains but didn’t see any signs of closures or crowds forming near any tube exits. On the roads there was heavy traffic on the Euston Road eastbound, probably from people being dropped off to catch the Javelin train.

Javelin trains

Here’s a quick overview:

  • - Huge numbers of people arrived to use the service but overall the system coped
  • - The Central Line was suspended for a while which would have sent even more people this way
  • - The staff and volunteers did a fantastic job
  • - 7.45 - 9am was the busiest period, and there were noticeable queues from around 7.30 - 9.15

After a slightly shaky start, staff did reasonably well to spread people evenly between the queuing pens, but the queue along Pancras Road was much longer than the others. I wasn’t timing the different queues but would guess that this was where some people reported that they were queuing for more than an hour.

But we all know the media likes doom and gloom and I saw far more tweets mentioning much shorter queue times including the BBC’s Tom Edwards: “About 30 mins I reckon to queue for javelin” and others like this one: “Queues long at St Pancras but well managed and thru in 15 mins for Javelin train”

How the Javelin queues work and how to avoid the longest ones

There are three main queuing areas which you can see in yellow this picture (click to see larger version).

The pens inside the station can be accessed directly from near the barriers to the First Capital Connect platforms, as well as being fed by pens in Midland Road.


At the busiest time, the queue in Pancras Road was the longest, while staff had to empty the pens inside the station near the First Capital Connect barriers more often to allow others coming from inside the station to use them. So you are likely to have a shorter waiting time if you go into the station and use these pens.

  • Best avoided: Pancras Road
  • st_p_rd1.jpg
  • st_p_rd2.jpg
  • Fast moving: inside St Pancras
  • inside.jpg

Even more sneakily, you could try the alternative route to the Javelin platforms from the upper level of St Pancras near the Betjeman Arms pub. This can be reached from the steps in Pancras Road or by going to the upper level if you are inside the station.

  • Sneaky: few people on upper level route
  • upper_level.jpg

Finally, avoid being directed to the pens on Midland Road - you will be waiting behind people who go directly into the queues inside the station. These should really be removed to allow the taxi rank to go back to normal.

  • Pointless: Midland Road pens hardly used
  • midland_rd.jpg

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  1. R Green

    Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 09:26:07

    I will be walking to St Pancras from London Euston on Monday 6th August. Train arrives Euston a 7.15am. Which is best entrance to use to get into St Pancras.

  2. james

    Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 23:17:58

    I would go up Midland Road between St Pancras and the British Library and use the entrance about 100 yards up on the right.