Book Your Train Tickets Early For London during Olympics

Train companies have urged business travellers to book their trips to London in advance, during the 2012 Olympics Games.

Most train tickets for the period covering the Olympic Games go on sale this week, although travellers with valid tickets for Olympics events have been able to book their travel since June 2011.

At the Capita Business Travel’s rail forum held in London last week, UK-based train companies informed business travellers that seats were now available to travel to London during the Games, which run from July 27 to August 12, 2012. The train companies are offering expanded services during these dates.

Martin Turner, the head of sales for East Coast Rail, said, ‘The over-riding message is don’t be put off coming to London if your only reason for not coming is that you won’t be able to get on a train. We will be able to get you to and from London during the Olympics.

There will be less people travelling from the north by train for the Olympics than originally anticipated. The long distance train operating companies’ message to business travellers is that there will be capacity. Additional services are being run and the evening peak for business travellers is not expected to be particularly affected, as people going to Olympic events are going to be travelling back a lot later than business travellers.’

Jayne Moyses, the sales and customer relationship manager for East Midlands Trains, said, ‘Managing demand is going to be a challenge. There will be an additional eight million journeys due to the Olympics.

We always see a dip in business travellers during this time of the summer – it’s normally about 30 percent for East Midlands but the drop will be more this year. Public transport will be the key to the games as 80 percent of spectators are expected to arrive by public transport.’

Eurostar Sees Rise in Sales in 2012 First Quarter

Eurostar International, the UK-based high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported an increase in sales from leisure travel for the three months ended march 31, 2012.

Although there has been a growth of 4 percent in leisure travel, to 2.24 million passengers in the first three months of 2012, compared to 2.15 million in the first three months of last year, the company has reported stagnation in its business travel figures.

Sales revenue for Eurostar has grown by 7 percent to £211 million in the 2012 first quarter, compared to £197 million in the same quarter of 2011, predominantly due to the growth in leisure travel.

The company chief executive officer, Nicolas Petrovic, said, ‘The year got off to a strong start with sales revenues and passenger numbers on the up. Our core destinations continue to be a big draw for passengers but we have also seen particularly good take-up of our Amsterdam fares as passengers are increasingly keen to try out new leisure destinations by high speed rail.’

The railway company is also sponsoring the 2012 Olympic Games, and is hosting a one-day summer arts festival, Traction, in London on July 14, 2012, as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Petrovic said, ‘We are gearing up for an exciting summer, as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations. Bookings for the June bank holiday weekend are looking strong with thousands of visitors coming to London to enjoy the unique pageantry of the Queen’s Jubilee.’

‘Fantastic’ HS2 will go ahead

Today’s decision by the government to go give the green light to HS2 was greeted as “a fantastic day for the West Midlands” by business leaders in Birmingham but warned that the government must introduce legislation to start the project this year.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG), said HS2, part of a larger High Speed Network, would create a fundamental change to the way people travel.

He said: “This is a fantastic day for the West Midlands. However, the imperative is to press ahead with all speed because delay will simply stall the impetus that today’s announcement has given.

“The transport secretary Justine Greening has indicated that it could be another two years before Parliament even votes on the proposition. This must not been allowed to happen. Delay would be damaging for the project and it would push it into the heart of an election campaign.

“The national interest must come first and business in Birmingham urges the government to press on with HS2 now so that it does not become bogged down in unnecessary Parliamentary procedures.

“The Government must look towards not only with pressing with the London-Birmingham HS2 link but publishing a plan soon for the route of the line north of Birmingham.

“HS2 will mean it will take just 39 minutes to travel from London to Birmingham and will help erode the north south divide by drawing investment and skilled workers away from the economic stranglehold of the south east.

“With rail growing at six per cent a year, and with no sign of abating, the Chamber applauds the Secretary of State for her decision to back the only viable solution to this looming capacity crunch.

“We have the Victorian’s to thank for our current railway network and it has served us well, but we are now well into the 21st Century and it’s about time we left our mark on the UK’s railway network.”

He added that HS2 has the potential to provide a huge to boost the region’s economy by creating jobs and making it easier for businesses to access markets quickly and efficiently.  In backing HS2 today the Secretary of State will help create 22,000 jobs in the West Midlands and boost the regional economy by £1.5 billion per annum.

HS2 forms part of a larger High Speed Network that will eventually link the main cities of the UK to one another and provide a fundamental change in the way people travel.  The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group and the business community in general has been a vocal advocate of HS2.  Indeed a survey of Chamber members found that over 70 per cent of businesses in Birmingham and Solihull support HS2.