The stage is set, the entertainers are eager to take their bow, the audience has arrived in their millions from all corners of the globe, and now London must show that seven years of preparation has turned it into a well-oiled Olympic machine.
The capital’s transport system will be the first of the machine’s components to come under scrutiny as it prepares to handle the thousands of spectators for tonight’s big event, the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. The organisers’ fingers will be crossed especially as it has already been reported that the first of the high-speed Javelin train services, that operate to and from the Olympic Park, set off five minutes late. The 7.04 scheduled train actually left at 7.09, a small discrepancy perhaps, but London knows that every delayed minute will be scrutinized and dissected by a demanding press and public. However, the subsequent journey from St. Pancras station to the Olympic park was completed in an impressive sub-seven minutes!
The Javelin trains will operate at the rate of 8 per hour between St. pancreas and Stratford, and Ebbsfleet International, while the games are taking place. Operator Southeastern expects to transport 25,000 passengers an hour at peak times.
Glitches on London’s road system that have been contributing to recent congestion have also been targeted. Some motorway links around the capital were closed last night as malfunctioning electronic signals were repaired, and officials have warned that the road system will be tested to its capacity over the coming days.
However, one Games visitor that will not be delayed by road congestion is the Olympic torch, as it is escorted over the last few miles of its long and epic journey. Whoever the top-secret bearer of the torch for the final leg of the journey turns out to be, they will be igniting not only the stadium’s Olympic flame, but also the hopes of a nation for a successful and memorable London 2012 Olympic Games.