A steam locomotive called Robert today resumed its rightful place outside Stratford Station – signalling that work delivering the transport infrastructure required for the London 2012 Games is drawing to a close.
Robert the Engine was hoisted and driven to Colchester for renovation in early 2008 by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) after 78 years of pigeons, rain and wind left the 1933 loco worn and weathered.
The ODA offered to repaint Robert – a 38-tonne saddle locomotive owned by Newham Council – so that work could start on building of a new entrance to the station, funded by the ODA.
Robert’s return signals that the overall transport investment required for Games-time is on track to complete this summer.
Stratford Station, which will be the main transport hub for the Games, is benefitting from more than £200 million investment. Plans to treble capacity by 2012 are being achieved as lines are improved – allowing longer and faster trains – while new platforms are finished and the station is reconfigured to maximise the increased numbers using it.
During London 2012 the station will be able to handle 120,000 people during morning peaks as over 200 trains pass through or stop there each hour.
Infrastructure upgrades at Stratford include five new stations as part of the DLR extension between Stratford International and Canning Town, a new Central Line platform allowing dual-side opening; upgrades to the East London, North London and Lea Valley Lines and a raft of improvements including new lifts, signage and remodelled subways and concourses.
Hugh Sumner, ODA Director of Transport, said: “Around £6.5 billion has been invested in transport associated with the Games so that extra demand can be met. This investment will ensure improvements are seen before, during and after London 2012.
“In addition to upgrades to infrastructure and services, it is important to recognise softer Legacy benefits. The return of Robert the Engine will mean he can be enjoyed by the community for years to come as a much-loved local landmark.”
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “Newham is fast becoming the best connected destination in London with a host of transport links leading to and from the borough. It is also set to become one of the most desirable destinations as we have the London 2012 Games and Westfield Stratford City on our doorstep.
“To have Robert the Engine back in pristine condition not only reflects the borough’s past as a hotbed of industry, but shows we are ready to embrace the future and welcome the world to Newham in 2012.”