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High Speed Olympic Javelin Train Makes Maiden Journey

BY Boon Koh
Published 28 July 2009

Three years before the London 2012 Olympic games, at least one piece of the Olympic puzzle is complete and running, surprisingly, ahead of time. The high speed Javelin train connecting London King’s Cross St Pancreas to Stratford in East London made its maiden voyage with one Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) onboard.

Boris Johnson on Olympic Javelin Train The train ride took 15 seconds less than 7 minutes to make the journey, with the train reaching top speeds of 140 miles per hour. During the Olympic Games it will offer spectators, athletes, and the media an easy way to bypass the crowded and stuffy London Underground system from the heart of London.

The Javelin trains are built by Hitachi Rail Systems in the Hitachi Kasado Factory located in Japan, and use the same technology as the bullet trains that are synonymous with rail travel in that country. The initial Javelin trains used are known as Class 395 or A-trains. The trains are expected to have a maximum speed of 186mph along the Ashford to King’s Cross St. Pancreas route. Expected maximum seating capacity is 354.

Javelin trains are due to start services to Ashford in Kent as well as Ebbsfleet in late 2009 as a quicker way for commuters to get to work from those two places. From 2010 onwards, this train service to Ashford and Ebbsfleet will also be stopping at the Stratford International station, just a short walk to the Stratford central and mainline station. This train service is being run by the train network company Southeastern Railway, which runs extensive services from London to all major cities in the Southeast corner of England.

After the ride, Boris Johnson was joined by Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell in touring the Stratford Olympics site and the stadium, which when completed, will be able to seat 80,000 spectators. The rest of the Stratford site is currently under heavy construction, with the shape of the Aquatics centre taking shape as well. The Westfield shopping complex, codenamed “Stratford City”, has had all its floors constructed and is in the middle of having its outer cladding bolted on. The bridge connecting Stratford City over the railway lines to Old Stratford is almost complete.

17/12/2009 Edit: Below is a crude route map for the Javelin Train, stretching from St Pancras all the way to Dover Train Station.

Javelin Train Route Map

Tickets for this train service can be bought at any National Rail station in the UK, as well as online at http://www.thetrainline.com