Posted 27th July 2012 | No Comments

Rail industry braced for Olympics launch

ALL THE SIGNALS are green as the railway industry prepares for its first real Olympics challenge later today, when the opening ceremony is staged in east London. National Rail Enquiries and Transport for London were both reporting a 'good service' on Friday morning, while a threat of strikes on East Midlands Trains next week has been lifted.

Various special arrangements, such as making certain key stations exit only, have now been activated, while Southeastern's special Javelin service from St Pancras to Stratford is running as planned, following some disruption caused by signalling problems earlier this week.

The threat of industrial action by East Midlands Trains drivers during the Olympics has also been lifted. In a joint statement, EMT and Aslef said there had been a 'positive settlement of all issues relating to planned pensions changes'. The proposed pension reforms had triggered a dispute earlier this year, and until agreement was reached last night drivers had been set to strike for three days next week. Aslef denied that the timing was targeted at the Olympics, and pointed out that the dispute had existed for six months.

There's good news for members of the armed forces who have been drafted in to bolster security at the Games. ATOC has announced that they will have free travel on trains in the London zones 1 to 9, and also from certain stations just outside the zones which are connected with Olympics events, such as Cheshunt or Windsor.

The offer is an extension of the free train travel already offered to officers seconded to British Transport Police for the duration of the Games.

Transport secretary Justine Greening said: "The decision by train operators to give them free travel when travelling to and from Games venues is a great way of recognising their contribution."

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