Providing Olympic Spirit

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The London 2012 Olympic Games were a triumph.

A wondrous opening ceremony, superb British medal haul and a summer of positivity are likely what come to mind if you ask most Britons what are their memories of that summer; but the run-up to the Games was beset by what seemed like daily warnings of certain traffic nightmares in the capital.

Any headlines relating to transport were almost guaranteed to use the word ‘chaos’ or ‘fear.’ As such, Project Leaders Limited (PLL) stepped up to help make the Underground experience smooth for Londoners, athletes and visitors alike.


The challenge was to ensure that the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines delivered a fit-for-purpose transportation system with minimal delay and disruption during the Olympic and Paralympic period. This was to be done in an economic and efficient way, delivering value for money.

Our Solutions

The PLL team worked alongside the joint venture rail infrastructure company Tube Lines Limited (TLL) to deliver solutions that improved reliability, reduced response times, improved the passenger experience and could be used post-Olympics to improve the overall performance. All this needed to be achieved within 15 months.

Detailed analysis of existing depot and spares locations. The creation of strategic spares holdings along the lines to minimise infrastructure fault response times. The target achieved was less than 10 minutes to access 95% of all critical replacement parts.

Improved fleet maintenance regimes using lean methodologies leading to improved fleet reliability.

Improved infrastructure maintenance regimes and the start of ‘smart’ infrastructure reporting.

The recruitment, familiarisation and training of additional Incident Response staff to reinforce the command and control function.


The lessons learnt from the Olympics have been carried forward and the improvements continue. It has to be said that Project Leaders were a part of a highly-motivated team led by the customer that delivered the benefits. Hard work, long and anti-social hours all contributed to the success.

The creation of underground storage facilities along the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines which significantly reduced the adverse effects of service affecting infrastructure failures. Performance improved by 12%.

Improved fleet reliability meant that during the Olympic period there were only three train failures that actually caused any disruption.

There was a 28% reduction in service-affecting infrastructure failures as a result of the improved maintenance regimes.

The additional Incident Response staff meant that the effect of service-affecting failures was much reduced, brought about by having competent staff at the scene of any incident within minutes.

"London's transport network defied the skeptics and held up to the surge in demand and praised dignitaries including IOC president Jacques Rogge and Prime Minister David Cameron for using public transport."

"The Tube was up 30%, the DLR was up 100%, London Overground up 47%, the Emirates Air Line cable car had a record 31,964 on Saturday, the bike hire scheme broke all records by a mile, 46,000 people on a single day, I believe.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

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