Delays snarl traffic to London's Olympic park
LONDON (AP) -- A main subway line to London's Olympic Park was briefly suspended Friday morning on the busiest day of the games so far. But officials said the transit system was coping despite the upheaval.
Some 200,000 people were expected at Olympic Park on the first day of track and field competition.
Transport for London said service on the Central Line, which links central London with the Olympic complex, had been briefly suspended because of a signal failure. Officials said full service was resumed by 9 a.m. after a partial suspension that lasted more than an hour, but there were still delays in the line midmorning.
Olympics fans quickly switched to other lines, causing further overcrowding. At St. Pancras station, where fast Javelin trains run to the Olympic site, lines stretched across the concourse, out the door and down the street.
"From what I understand the queues were about an hour for the Javelin -- but everybody's got in," organizing committee spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said.
Officials have warned Londoners for weeks that the games would bring pressure and crowding on public transport, but so far the system has largely coped. Transport for London says passenger numbers are up 10 percent on usual levels for this time of year.
Huge crowds thronged the park Friday, the first day of events inside the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which had so far only been used for the gala opening ceremony.
Officials are also restricting access to the Westfield Stratford shopping mall next to the Olympic Park on Friday and Saturday because of the large crowds expected. Only ticket holders or accredited workers will be allowed into the mall during the day.
Games officials say they expect the mall to open as normal after Saturday, expected to be the peak day for Olympic visitor numbers.