Olympics transport project completed early

The first major transport project for the 2012 Olympic Games has been completed five weeks early and on budget.

A new 12-track railway sidings has opened at Orient Way in east London, replacing the Thornton's Field sidings at the heart of the Olympic Park site. Dismantling Thornton's Field will allow access for construction and logistics vehicles during building of the Olympic Stadium.

During the Games, the area will be used as one of the main pedestrian access points leading up to the Stadium.

Trains have been using Orient Way, project managed by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and constructed by Balfour Beatty, since last month.

Balfour Beatty Rail Projects was responsible for the design and construction of the 12-road railway sidings, installing over 5km of track in an area equivalent to three full-size football pitches. The scope of works also included overhead line equipment, signalling, telecommunications, civils and associated works and the construction of a new welfare building adjacent to the sidings. Some 99 per cent of the demolition and site clearance waste from the project was recycled.

Formally opening the site, Rail Minister Tom Harris said: "We want to deliver a world class transport system for the Olympic Games in four years' time. It is very encouraging that the first piece of the infrastructure has been brought in by the ODA ahead of time and under budget."

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: "The completion of Orient Way was imperative to the start of the stadium construction, and I am delighted that all delivery partners involved have completed this significant project five weeks early and on budget."

Train operator National Express East Anglia is using Orient Way for stabling trains operating out of London Liverpool Street station, and will be responsible for maintaining its infrastructure for the duration of the franchise, which runs until 2012.

The facility is adjacent to Eurostar's London depot and has been designed with the flexibility to accommodate future Eurostar trains if that site needs to expand.

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