A WAR of words broke out this week as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) denied it had an obligation to provide a £20M travelator between the two Olympic park stations at Stratford east London.
CTRL owner London & Continental Railways (LCR) disputed claims that planning permission for the station required it to build a travelator.
It said it could meet planning conditions for its Stratford International station by providing a shuttle bus to Stratford Regional station 400m away.
But local council and planning authority Newham Council said that LCR was committed to building the link as a planning condition for building the station.
Under the Transport & Works Act provisions agreed in 1997 a mechanised link between Stratford International and Stratford Regional stations must be provided before Stratford International opens in 2007.
At a House of Commons transport select committee meeting last week, LCR chief executive Rob Holden said the link could be provided by a bus service.
'The requirement was not for a travelator but for a mechanical link. As I understand it, this could even be a bus, ' he told MPs.
Holden expressed concern about costs and about who would be responsible for maintenance. He added that the travelator could also create a physical barrier.
'It's our firm belief that the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) extension provides the ideal mechanised link between the two stations, ' added Holden.
The chairman of passenger group London Travelwatch, Brian Cooke, expressed horror at Holden's suggestion. 'LCR knew the rules of the game before they started - if you don't like the rules, don't join in, ' he said.
Disability Rights Commission head of access to services and transport Natalie Salmon said a travelator was the best link between the two stations for disabled visitors to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Estimated costs for the travelator have risen from an initial £8M to between £20M and £25M.
LCR is expected to apply for a waiver to Newham Council. It will state that a DLR extension from Stratford regional station to the CTRL station could count as a mechanised link.
But Newham Council is insisting the travelator be built.
Newham Council's regeneration and development strategic policy co-ordinator Stephen Hoier said: 'We want the DLR but we don't see it as an alternative to the travelator.' John McKenna