Photo  Transport

  Home of bus, tram, ferry and lorry photographs
    Home  |  Buses  Ferries  |  Lorries  |  Trams  |  Coaches  |  Trains  |  Transport  |                                  Covers  Search  |


  September 2012

Buses at the 2012 London Olympics
LOCOG, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympics Games, were responsible for overseeing the planning and organisation of the Olympic Games held in London 2012.   This responsibility included transport, particularly buses which were provided for public and athletes alike at all the venues, not only at the Olympic Park in Stratford but also the rest of London and throughout the country.   Two major operators were engaged to coordinate this exercise - First was responsible for bus transport available to the general public and Stagecoach for athletes and officials.   LOCOG also hired other operators directly such as Ulsterbus.   As with the Games themselves, everything was immaculately organised, with perhaps too many rather than too few vehicles in attendance.   It was a once in a lifetime event that required once in a lifetime organisation.
London Eton Manor Hub

Two transport hubs were established to serve buses and coaches for the Olympics in London.   The main site was at Eton Manor near the Stratford shopping centre and was adjacent to the Media Centre hub.   It was therefore extremely busy with hundreds of vehicle movements per hour.   This hub was dedicated to games shuttle vehicles carrying athletes, staff and journalists between hotels and venues.   Stagecoach was selected to provide these services and chose to hire vehicles from many other operators, such as (clockwise) Brighton, Arriva, Albellio, Thamesdown, Wilts & Dorset, National Express West Midlands and Ulsterbus.   They all carried small stickers with cryptic destinations such as "MM1 - MH1" or "AOV - OLV", and they all had operator identities and adverts removed.

London Stagecoach

Stagecoach UK Bus Events provided hundreds of new or almost new vehicles for the shuttle services.   These came from far flung parts of the empire as did the drivers, and included buses from (clockwise) Worthing, Exeter (Park & Ride), Peterborough and Warwick (Unibus).   They were garaged at the new West Ham depot in London, and the drivers were accommodated on two cruise ships.

London First

The prime transport contractor for the Olympics was First Games Transport.   They supplied or organised most of the public services to and from the events, including the sailing at Weymouth, the rowing at Eton Dorney and the football matches in cites throughout the UK.   In London they operated shuttles between the venues (top left at Greenway hub; lower left at Excel centre), a service to the O2, renamed North Greenwich Arena to save sponsor conflict (top right), served the Greenway hub (lower middle) and found themselves interloping in amongst red buses in Canning Town.   First used a mix of new and reconditioned vehicles mainly Wright bodied Volvos.

London Greenway Hub

The other major transport hub was at Greenway, near West Ham station.   This site was the principal coach station and also hosted the park and ride shuttles from the M25 at Thurrock (lower left) and Hertfordshire Show Ground (lower right).   Most vehicles (apart from the park and ride ones) were immaculate provided by high profile operators such as Redwing (centre) and Kings Ferry (upper right).   They were used for carrying officials, police (middle left) and sponsors (middle right) amongst others.   Both the Eton Manor and the Eastway hubs were connected to the Olympic Park by large walkways where strict security was enforced.   Outside the venues everyone was very friendly and helpful ensuring that the public and bus enthusiasts had an enjoyable day.

Round Up Express, Heathrow, Shuffling

First Group Travel organised all public travel by bus to Olympic venues.   They ran scheduled coach services to the Olympic Park from towns throughout the South of England (Salisbury, top right) operating at highly unsociable hours to accommodate the early starts and late finishes.  Additionally services were operated to Weymouth from Salisbury and Bristol.   As expected, contractors provided the vehicles.   National Express also ran a network of services from the whole of the UK to the Olympic Park, such as the one seen in Reading that originated from Cardiff (top left).

Before the competition began, all the athletes and officials arrived at Heathrow Airport.   Stagecoach organised services from there to the Olympic Village.   Some of these buses famously got lost in London on the first day.   Two routes were operated from T1/T2/T3 and T4/T5 running at 30 minute intervals, regardless of whether there were any passengers.   Much of the service was run by Ulsterbus (middle left), with more cryptic destination displays (middle) and all panels taped over with LOCOG stickers (middle right).

While vehicles were on Olympics duties, Stagecoach shuffled its fleet to cover the gaps.   The South Coast fleet in particular received a large number of buses from other operators (lower left) and resurrected delicensed vehicles (lower right).   There were even shuffles to cover shuffles (Scottish vehicles covering in Newcastle for example).   Stagecoach also had several Ulsterbus coaches on hire for duties on Megabusplus.

>>> PLAY >>>  >>> PLAY >>> 
Visa advert bus in Stratford bus station  Cable Car between Excel Centre and the Dome

Home Safe
Stagecoach Events 10005 (SP12CFY) at Eton Manor Transport Hub in early August 2012 on Olympics duties. Stagecoach Strathtay 10005 (SP12CFY) in Dundee Bus Station in late August 2012 arriving from Blairgowrie. Ulsterbus Wright/Volvo double deckers and Scania/Irizar coaches on the quayside at Belfast in late August 2012.

x x   
Eton Dorney
    Eton Dorney was the venue for the rowing.   A transport hub was established at Windsor Race Course and routes from nearby Park & Ride sites and Slough and Maidenhead stations served it.   First was the prime operator although Green Bus was subcontracted, who in turn contracted Reading Buses.   The hub's busiest time for arrivals was very early in the morning.  
    Most of the new Enviro400s could be found at Eton Dorney (above and below)  
    Refurbished Tridents such as those formerly with First London (above and below) made up the numbers at Eton Dorney.  
    Green Bus contracted Reading Buses to provide additional vehicles (above) including some branded ones (below).   Some of the First drivers lodged at Reading University.  
x x   
    Weymouth was home to the sailing events.  The transport hub was a vast car park near the railway station where new and refurbished Wright bodied Volvos could be found.   There were three Park & Ride sites, some situated miles from the town.   As with Stagecoach the First drivers came from far and wide including Scotland and Wales.  
    The Park & Ride site at Kingston Maurward College was in fact a big unmown meadow  (above).  The buses themselves left from makeshift stances (below), crewed by remarkably cheery staff who were obviously treating it as two weeks paid holiday.  
    The mainstay of the First operation was a large batch of brand new leather seated Wright bodied Volvos (above).   Go Ahead were also present to provide services from Weymouth station to the venue for officials (below).  
    Giant screens were erected on Weymouth beach to allow non-ticket holders the chance to watch the races (above).   Because many of these people were locals, the X53 service between Poole and Exeter was beefed up to provide duplicates (below).  
    South West Trains run rail services to Weymouth station (below).   As they are owned by Stagecoach, they arranged for coaches to be on standby (above) in case they were required.  
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx All photos taken in July and August 2012.   Click to enlarge photos and play clips.




xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Like the above ?
Then these may be of interest ..

Photo-Transport has been publishing themed articles about Public Transport for over 10 years.

If you enjoyed the above article you may be interested in these articles which were first published in December 2002 and April 2009.

  Virgin Rail Replacement
West Coast Main Line rail replacement
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Park & Ride services








xxxxxxxxxxxxxxixxxx FAQ  |  Contact  |  References
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                                                  Copyright 2001-2010, Ray Ward