EARLS Court and Olympia Venues (ECO) are trying to head off Transport for London’s plans to close the Earls Court/Olympia District Line link on weekdays.
The organisation say they are "lobbying hard to keep the existing three trains an hour in the weekdays from Earls Court to Olympia and to ensure that Olympia remains one of the most accessible central London exhibition venues".
TfL's extended consultation process on the proposals have just ended. They argued that the Kensington (Olympia) service from Earls Court represents ten per cent of train movements but carries less than one per cent of passengers: "This can create bottlenecks, which can then disrupt the service. Our proposal will resolve this problem and improve reliability," said a TfL spokesman.
Anyone who has used the service will know that tube trains between Olympia and Earls Court are infrequent, running every 25 to 40 minutes when the service is not disrupted. And for the last four years the tube hasn't run to Olympia at weekends because of works being undertaken for the Olympics.
This means that ECO have had to make alternative arrangements, such as bussing in visitors from Earls Court. And they say they are still working with TfL on measures to help make Olympia more accessible, such as signed walking routes from Barons Court and West Kensington, more branding for Olympia and changing the marketing on the tube maps.
Olympia is also served by London Overground and Southern trains, which between them offer from three to six trains per hour, depending on the time of day, to both West Brompton (where you can change to the District line for services to Paddington, Victoria and the City and to Shepherd's Bush (where a connection can be made to the Central line for onward connections to the West End, the City, Liverpool Street and Stratford).
Chris Gallon, the antiques shows director for Clarion Events at Olympia, said: "Since May there has been in increase in overland trains from Shepherd's Bush to Olympia and this already is a faster and nicer way to reach the venue from the West End via the Central line. We are supporting ECO to try and keep the tube line during week days but we will also be promoting the new Shepherd's Bush route to our visitors."
By Ivan Macquisten