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Get ahead of the Games in 5 minutes with our cheatsheet

Posted at 8:30 am, July 27, 2012 in Olympics & Paralympics, Transport
Peak hours may necessitate that you let other people sit on your lap.

Photo: David Boyle

First came the posters.
Then the endless adverts.
And now, Boris himself has lent his plummy tones to the chorus of doom-mongery.

One thing’s for sure: TfL really, really want you to Get Ahead of the Games. (A euphemism for ‘please, please just stay at home.’)

We bet you haven’t, though. So here’s what you need to know…

London Underground: abandon all hope ye who enter here

* At certain stations, waits of over 30 minutes are predicted
* The Jubilee and Central lines are going to be ‘character-building’ at best
* The Tube and the DLR will stay open an hour later than usual throughout the games; last trains leave central London at 1.30am
* They’ll open early on Sundays too (about 6.30am.)

To help you avoid hotspots, hot tempers and hot messes, Get Ahead of the Games have some fantastic maps and information available.

Be sure to use their ‘predicted impact’ maps to plan your journey and try to avoid the red zones where possible.

Get Ahead of the Games heat map

Click on a station you’re interested in and it’ll tell you when it’s going to be worst. Here’s the grid for the anticipated horrorshow at London Bridge:

Get Ahead of the Games London Bridge station table


* All these bus routes (and many of their night bus counterparts) are diverted or terminating early: 7, 9, 11, 12, 19, 22, 53, 59, 74, 92, 97, 100, 108, 113, 137, 158, 169, 161, 177, 178, 180, 188, 190, 199, 206, 241, 243, 276, 291, 308, 430, 453, 469, 486, 488, 493, 521, C1, D3, D8, N1, N26, N109, N155, N381, N550, W15, X68 – view all the alterations in this massive document.
* The traffic’s probably going to be bad in any case.

TfL Journey Planner is up to speed on all the changes, so use it to plan possible alternative routes.

TfL Journey alerts


* London Bridge is the achilles heel of Games transport, and will be exit-only this Monday July 30
* Cannon Street,  Charing Cross and London Victoria might be good alternatives for travel to the south-east
* London Waterloo will also be especially ‘lively’
* A whole stretch of stations around Greenwich will either shut or run reduced services

More information here. Good luck.


* The Greenway’s shut
* So’s the Lea Valley towpath

Though many of the Games lanes will be out of bounds for cyclists, but you may well make faster progress than the motorised traffic. If you don’t have your own bike, then there’s always the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme… though there’ll be heavy demand on that too, and there are no cycle hire docks near the Olympic Park. Check out our guide to cycling in London for more information, or if you’re taking things extra-seriously, investigate this new e-book guide.


Wake of a Clipper.

Photo: Rob T

* Might be a good option if you’re in the Greenwich travel shutdown zone (pictured under ‘Overground’)

If you want to get away from buses, tubes and angry commuters, then why not float away on the river with some of London’s river buses or taxis during the Games. The Thames Clipper and City Cruises will both be providing a more serene form of travel through London – just remember to book before boarding.


* It’s that thing you do with your legs

If all else fails – and all else probably will at some point –  you can always rely on the most economical and healthy way to travel of all: walking. It might just help you avoid the rush and justify eating that ice-cream you had at lunch time. Living Streets is a website designed to motivate you to walk during the Olympics.  And if you need a little more guidance, The Ramblers have put together the 2012 Led Walks showing you the best way to get to the Olympic Park and revealing some East End history on the way.

Don’t go anywhere

Work from home! Relax at home! Party at home! For two whole weeks! And it’s what the powers-that-be are secretly hoping you do. Never before has doing your civic duty been so comfortable – why not make the most of it?

For more info on the games, visit our Olympics hub.

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