Cross-River Cable Car Planned

0407_cablecar.jpg
Image courtesy of TfL

Transport for London has unveiled plans to link two of the main non-Stratford Olympic sites via a cable car between the north and south banks of the Thames.

The concept for an east London cable car isn’t particularly new: tentative plans for one to link the Millennium Dome and Canary Wharf were tabled in the late 1990s, and when he first became Mayor, Boris Johnson spoke with then-architectural advisor Richard Rogers about building a network of them in the Thames Gateway. The recession (and Rogers’ dismissal) put paid to that, and Boris busied himself with an even more improbable Jetsons-esque transport plan.

The new proposal, however, would see cable car stations built on Greenwich peninsula and the Royal Victoria Docks, near to North Greenwich tube and Royal Victoria DLR respectively. The route, suspended 50 metres in the air, would be capable of carrying 2,500 passengers (including cyclists) each hour, and would provide a direct link between the O2 Arena and ExCel centre in time for 2012. At a cost of £25m, the empty coffers of TfL means that the project would have to be funded privately, and talks are underway with private sector firms to that end.

Leaving aside the questionable use in the Olympics — is there likely to be huge demand to get between these two relatively small venues? — the idea seems an excellent one. East of Tower Bridge there are few interesting ways of crossing the river. Building a cable car with panoramic views of the capital would be a huge hit, instantly providing east London with a conspicuous tourist attraction — one that could prove more popular (not to mention useful) than, say, a certain red-tinted structure.

  • http://undefined AdrienneCooper

    Has anything been said about the cost of travelling on the cable car yet, whether the ticket cost will cover the operating costs and, if not, whether it will be subsidised by TfL?

    It’s all very well getting private operators in to build and operate it but if the cost of running it as a genuine part of an integrated transport system is too high then it will either have to be subsidised (and will therefore use public funds to keep it running) or it will operate purely as a tourist attraction, bringing no benefit to commuters.

    • DeanN

      I don’t think anything official has been said about the ticket price yet — the whole project is at a very early stage of discussion.

      it will operate purely as a tourist attraction, bringing no benefit to commuters.

      I think the cable car’s main value would be as a tourist attraction anyway, and as a link between the O2 and ExCel during the Olympics. Commuters already have a three-minute link between North Greenwich and Canning Town, a little north of the proposed Royal Docks cable car station, via the Jubilee line.

  • http://undefined downriver

    So I think you mean downriver…
    And who wants interesting ways of crossing – you can go swim if you really want. There are perfectly useful crossings – the London Overground between Wapping and Rotherhithe, the Jubilee line three times, at the south of the Isle of Dogs – DLR and foot/bike tunnel and at Woolwich – DLR, tunnel and free ferry…

    And I’m afraid you won’t get panoramic views of the capital – a good view of Canary Wharf and the O2 yes but Canary Wharf blocks most of central London from this angle…

    • http://undefined downriver

      Ah, correction (well edit) without acknowledgement… nice.

      • DeanN

        I bow down to your manifest genius.

        It’s cute that your username is “downriver”. Is this the first time you’ve ever been right about something?

  • http://undefined John

    Have the nutjobs that came up with this idea realised that the proposed route (based on the rough sketch) will put the cable car directly in front of residential buildings? The implications for security and privacy never crossed their mind?

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