Consider the leagcy of the trolley bus - by David Callam
4th September 2008
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LONG before the Olympic flame arrives in Stratford and for many years afterwards, Croydon will be feeling the benefit of the 2012 London Games.

And with a little ingenuity and some political leadership the advantages to the whole of south London could be even greater.

Barring some unforeseeable disaster, the East London Railway, which will link West Croydon and Crystal Palace to the Olympic Park, is now a certainty.

Work is well advanced on a flyover at New Cross Gate that will carry trains from south London onto the former East London Line at Rotherhithe and under the River Thames to Shadwell and beyond.

Air-conditioned carriages are already on order to replace the ancient rolling stock that previously wound its way through these once unglamorous areas of the capital.

Work on modernising and lengthening the platforms at the intermediate stations will soon begin and the new service - when it starts in 2010 - will be more frequent than anything we are used to at the moment.

There is no doubt that this upgrade would have happened eventually - it is equally certain that without the impetus provided by the forthcoming Olympics, it might have been another few decades materialising.

Public transport will be the life-blood of the London games - none but the very rich or the highly privileged will be able to stay close to the Olympic Park or any of the other games venues across the city.

Many spectators will be staying in the suburbs, so an efficient transport system is imperative -it is equally important for those of us who live and work in the capital.

We are already too late to plan any further railway lines for the London Olympics, but we could consider a continuous public transport corridor - bus lanes plus - on all our major routes.

We could also consider a fleet of modern trolley buses to provide journeys that are pollution-free at the point of travel.

Arnhem, Croydon's twin-town in Holland, runs just such a fleet - clean, quiet, reliable and comfortable - with distinct advantages for the immediate environment.

If we want to portray London as a new kind of Olympic Games, where legacy is more important than ceremony, then these are the kind of initiatives that will make it so.

Croydon Eye is a weekly commentary written exclusively for The Best of Croydon by David Callam and posted in the blog section every Thursday.

David Callam is a freelance journalist and the former business editor of The Croydon Advertiser. For more examples of his work and to see what he could do for your business please visit

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