Severe disruptions hit three of the main rail links to the Olympic Park in east London early on Monday, four days before the start of the Games, in the latest transport fiasco to raise anxiety levels in the British capital. Adding to the stress factor, the labour union RMT announced industrial action by staff in some parts of the city's transport network during the Games to demand bonuses in recognition of the extra work involved.
Weary Londoners accustomed to almost daily problems on the Tube, the world's oldest urban underground railway network, have been predicting for years that the overstretched system would struggle to cope with the Olympics.
The Monday morning rush hour seemed to confirm their worst fears as they were met with announcements over the speaker system that the Central Line was suspended on its busiest stretch while the Jubilee Line was running at a snail's pace. Compounding the misery, a key overground link was also “experiencing severe delays”. “This is going to be brilliant for the Olympics,” said one passenger on the crowded but at least functioning Northern Line, to guffaws from fellow commuters.
Man jumps in protest
A man jumped off London's historic Tower Bridge into the River Thames on Monday during a protest by taxi drivers over their exclusion from part of a special Olympic Games road network in the capital and survived.