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Rail Minister gets on track with 2012 Olympics transport plan

PUBLISHED: 10:31 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 October 2010

Minister (right) is shown round sidings by John Armitt

Minister (right) is shown round sidings by John Armitt

Carmen Valino

RAIL Minister Tom Harris came to East London to open new rail sidings which replace others shunted out of the way of the 2012 Olympics development. The new sidings are the first major project to be completed for the Games, which will make Stratford one of the biggest rail hubs in London by 2012

By Laura Aylett

RAIL Minister Tom Harris came to East London to open new rail sidings which replace others shunted out of the way of the 2012 Olympics development.

The new sidings are the first major project to be completed for the Games, which will make Stratford one of the biggest rail hubs in London by 2012.

The minister was shown round by the Olympic Delivery Authority's transport chief John Armitt (pictured with the minister) for the official opening of the project next to Hackney Marshes.

National Express is using the 12 tracks to marshal trains when they're not in service on the Liverpool Street main line.

They were laid down to replace the old sidings half-a-mile away which have now been swallowed up by the Olympics development, where a major pedestrian 'green highway' linking Stratford station to the main stadium is being laid out.

Rail links were critical to the success of the Games as well as for the future of the area, the minister pointed out.

"East London is going to be the best-connected part of the capital," he told the East London Advertiser.

"Economic development is only possible with transport links-it's crucial to get the transport network working to full capacity."

The sidings were completed five weeks ahead of schedule and 'on budget', much to the planners' delight.

Even the main stadium is being started three months early.

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