Mayor takes Schwarzenegger on Thames cable car

August 13, 2012 by  

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THE Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has shown former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger London’s newest river crossing.

The pair took to the skies on the Emirates Air Line cable car after first watching the USA’s Basketball team take Gold in the Basketball final at the North Greenwich Arena, as the Dome has been renamed for the duration of London 2012.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “When Arnold said he would be back this summer, I had absolutely no reason to doubt him. Last year we took in the views around City Hall on two wheels, this year we’ve seen the entire skyline from what is without doubt a feat of Austro-British engineering.”

Austrian firm Doppelmayr was one of the companies that helped to construct London’s newest river crossing.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “Riding the Emirates Air Line, walking around the city with Boris, and seeing his dedication to creating great infrastructure to accommodate people from around the globe has been an unbelievable experience.”

The visit by Schwarzenegger, who features in new movie The Expendables 2, and the mayor of London came a day after the cable car recorded its busiest day since opening with 31,964 journeys. The £60 million cable car, which links North Greenwich with the Royal Docks,opened to the public in June.

Emirates Air Line opens to the public

June 28, 2012 by  

Emirates Air Line cable car

THE NEW cable car across the Thames opened to the public at midday today.

The Emirates Air Line takes passengers almost 300 ft into the air and across the river to the Royal Docks in about five minutes.

The price of a single trip was confirmed last week as being £3.20 when using a pay-as-you-go Oyster card and £4.30 for a cash fare.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was in Greenwich for the official opening of the river crossing that he announced less than two years ago and which gained planning permission in January 2011.

The £60 million cable car has been sponsored by airline Emirates in a 10-year deal worth £36 million. Transport for London (TFL) said when the scheme was announced that they were aiming to “fund the scheme’s construction entirely from private finance.”

London mayor, Boris Johnson, told the News Shopper today that the shortfall in the development costs would be made back by “revenue, retail and merchandising.”

First in the queue to use the cable car when it opened at noon were Trudy and Bob Lawrence from Roan Street. Trudy said: “It’s an exciting and innovative way of crossing the river and I do like that you can take a bicycle across.”

Bob added, “I’m an engineer and I think it’s a great engineering feat and it’s nice that we can do things like this in a city like London.”

Emirates Air Line cable car

Reaction to the cable car

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson:

“The Emirates Air Line is a stunning addition to London’s transport network, providing a much needed new connection across the Thames. I am sure the Emirates Air Line is now set to be a must-see destination in its own right, giving people the chance to drink in breath-taking panoramic views.

“Crucially, the Emirates Air Line supports my ambitious plans to revive the neighbouring areas, which have been neglected for decades, creating jobs for Londoners and stimulating growth.”

Cllr Chris Roberts, Leader of Greenwich Council:

It’s welcome news that the cable car has been completed in time for the Olympics, and it provides another way for visitors – and Londoners – to get to Greenwich. However, it is no substitute for the river crossings we need to build out economy including the Silver town tunnel to the Peninsula and Crossrail.”

Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich:

I welcome the opening of the cable car. I was impressed by the ride – the views are spectacular. However, although this will undoubtedly help attract tourists and visitors to the Greenwich Peninsula, it is no substitute for the long-overdue new Thames crossing. Until we get a new tunnel between the Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown, and a new bridge between Becton and Thamesmead, we will continue to suffer from inadequate river crossings and the consequent congestion at Blackwall”.

Cllr Spencer Drury, Leader of Greenwich Conservatives:

“The cable car has the potential to become a serious tourist attraction which will draw even more visitors to this part of London in the long-term. The Mayor of London has once again made a serious investment which will benefit the people of Greenwich, despite the grumbling of senior Labour Councillors at the meeting this week.”

Lib Dem London Assembly member, Caroline Pidgeon:

“Boris Johnson needs to come clean and explain just how much the cable car will be costing London’s taxpayers. Two years ago he misled Londoners by claiming it would not cost a penny of public money, yet in reality millions of public money has poured into the project with the final figure facing taxpayers still not clear.”

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth:

“This cable car is exactly the sort of river crossing London needs. But plans to build new Thames road tunnels or bridges in east London must be scrapped – this would create more traffic, more congestion and more air pollution.”

Sharon Grant, Chair, London TravelWatch:

“We have been following the progress of the Emirates Airline closely throughout the construction period and are delighted that the service has opened in time for The Olympics. The service offers a quick new way to get from Greenwich to the EXCEL Arena, which is likely to bring tourists into east London and open up opportunities for people who work at either of the locations it serves. We also welcome the fact that Oyster will be accepted on the Airline and that frequent users will benefit from a reduced price.”

More photos from the cable car…

Emirates Air Line cable car
First in the queue were Greenwich residents Trudy and Bob Lawrence

Emirates Air Line cable car

Emirates Air Line cable car - Mayor of Greenwich
New mayor of Greenwich, David Grant, was one of the early passengers.

Emirates Air Line cable car
Unite protestors tried to get their message across with lots of media in attendance.

Video of the journey from Royal Docks to Greenwich

Cable car to open to public next week

June 18, 2012 by  

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Emirates Air Line

THE CABLE car across the Thames will open next week, it has been announced.

Passengers will be able to make the journey from Greenwich to the Royal Docks when the Emirates Air Line officially opens at midday on Thursday June 28th.

A single journey for adult Oyster card users will cost £3.20 with children between 5 and 15 paying £1.60. Children under 5 will travel for free in the gondolas, each of which can fit up to two bikes in.

Travelcard and Freedom card users will pay as the same as Oyster Pay As You Go users but frequent flyers can buy ten trips on the cable for £16. Journeys across the river will be available up until nine o’clock seven days a week although hours will be extended when events take place nearby.

Construction of the £60 million cable car started last summer and contractors Mace have raced to complete it before London 2012.

Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: ‘Passengers will very soon get to experience this unique and exciting new addition to London’s transport network.”

Emirates Air Line opening hours

Monday – Friday: 07:00 to 21:00
Saturday: 08:00 to 21:00
Sunday: 09:00 to 21:00

Emirates Air Line

Daily Photo: 12/06/2012 – Cable car

June 12, 2012 by  

Emirates Air Line - Thames Cable Car

Photo of the northern side of the Emirates Air Line cable car, taken from next to North Greenwich pier on Saturday evening.

Daily Photo: 21/04/2012 – Cable car gondolas hang above the Thames

April 21, 2012 by  

The Emirates Airline cable car took a step closer to completion yesterday as moving cable car gondolas were sighted for the first time.

These pictures were taken today for Greenwich.co.uk by Daren when more test runs were being carried out using one full gondola and two skeleton gondolas.

Here’s a video that was posted to YouTube by user ‘wye001′.

Daily Photo: 28/10/2011 – By next summer…

October 28, 2011 by  

… you should be able to cross this spot of the river using the Emirates Air Line cable car. Thanks to Gordon Coster for the photo he took a few weeks ago.

Give me control of Greenwich’s trains, says Boris at cable car launch

October 7, 2011 by  

London mayor Boris Johnson has called for control of London’s overground rail routes following a power failure which saw hundreds of Greenwich line passengers stranded on a viaduct this morning.

The mayor spoke as he unveiled a £36m sponsorship deal for the cable car between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, which will now be officially called the Emirates Air Line.

But the launch came as Greenwich’s existing transport network was crippled by the closure of the A2 due to a dangerous building at Deptford Bridge, and the failure of the Southeastern train at Deptford.

Passengers were stuck on the train for two-and-a-half hours until it was “rolled” back to Deptford station. London-bound services were diverted via Lewisham throughout the morning.

“The failure on the overground rail is something we could well sort out if only they would give us control,” Mr Johnson told greenwich.co.uk. Transport for London has control of just one of the capital’s mainline operators, London Overground, which was launched by his predecessor Ken Livingstone in 2007.

“It’s a continual bugbear that you have passengers who feel frustrated because their journey into work isn’t comfortable from the south-east. We’re not empire-building, but we just think we could help if we’re involved in those franchises.

“Cable theft is a big problem now and we think that the systems being put in place to protect passengers against disruption are inadequate.

“Frankly, as mayor, I get people asking me about this and I think I need a bit more jurisdiction.”

The £36m, ten-year deal, will see the cable car stations named Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks, with the 34 gondolas painted in the airline’s red livery. Inside, the seats feature a bus-style moquette.

The service – which will have a capacity of 2,500 people in each direction each hour – will appear on the Tube map, but fares and operating times are still not confirmed. It is due to open next summer, although TfL is not guaranteeing it will be ready for the Olympics.

But the sponsorship cash falls well short of the £59m total budget of a scheme the mayor originally hoped would be entirely funded by private finance. TfL is applying to the European Regional Development Fund for an £8m grant which would “more or less wipe out the construction costs”, Mr Johnson said.

As for the remaining funds, the mayor said most of it was set aside for contingencies that hopefully would not be needed.

“Even in the worst case scenario, there will be a revenue stream from the cable car in terms of fare revenue for TfL which would help to defray that cost very substantially.

“Secondly, there will be further commercial opportunities associated with the base stations, which we will use – retail and so on – and whatever’s left over will represent sensational value for a significant new piece of transport infrastructure.”

The mayor added: “Emirates are one of the most successful airlines in the world – ask yourself why they put £36m into this. I think we’ve got a good deal and they’ve got a good deal. £36m is a good sum to give London a cable car that it needs.”

TfL’s managing director of underground and rail services, Mike Brown, said: “I was on site yesterday and work is well under way – the contractors are doing a great job from what I can see so far. Our plan is to get it up and running next summer, but it was never designed as being critical for the Olympics. But obviously we want to get it in service as soon as we can.

“This is an area of London that’s developing all the time, there are events at ExCeL and at the O2 arena – not just at weekends and in the evenings, but increasingly throughout the day – so we’re very positive about the revenue stream we’ll generate from this.”

Asked if the cable car car was the best priority for Greenwich’s transport problems, Mr Brown said: “TfL is investing a huge amount of money in the delivery of Crossrail, which of course will carry huge volumes of people, many more than the cable car was designed for.

“I think this is a useful addition. It does give us some very useful, specific capacity for the route from Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks, and I think that’s going to be a fantastic addition to TfL’s overall infrastructure.

“But in no way does it distract our energies and efforts from our upgrades to the Tube and investments in the Overground, DLR and trams, as well delivering Crossrail.”

Mr Brown added that the Thames Path by the O2 would reopen “as soon as possible”, when the main piling work by the cable car’s south tower was complete.

The towers are currently being prepared for installation, while over the next few weeks work will start on the stations.

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark said: “As one of the world’s most innovative airlines, this link with this new form or air travel in London is a perfect fit for us. The Emirates Air Line will take off as an iconic landmark for London.”

But at City Hall, Liberal Democrat assembly member Mike Tuffrey was less impressed.

“Transport for London admit that this sponsorship deal only meets 80% of the construction cost.  This leaves many millions of pounds worth of funding to be found from TfL’s budget,” he said.

“At a time when fares are set to rise by well over the rate of inflation people will be asking why the Mayor has failed to live up to what he had promised and ensured the cable car was entirely self financing.”

Computer generated simulation of the Thames Cable Car

Greenwich planners approve cable car scheme

January 28, 2011 by  

A cable car system across the Thames took a step closer to becoming a reality last night after it won the unanimous support of Greenwich Council’s Planning Board.

The TFL scheme to build a cable car linking the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks has already been backed by Newham Council.

Once built, the Thames Cable Car will carry 34 gondolas – each with a capacity of 10 people – on the short journey fifty metres above the Thames.

In their review of the scheme, CABE praised the “the elegance, inventiveness and originality” of the towers that will straddle both ends.

For further coverage of the planning committee meeting, see Darryl’s report at 853.

Nick Raynsford MP told Greenwich.co.uk last year that the scheme was a “nice little project” but not one that would address the “absolutely hopeless cross river links”

CABE reviews Thames Cable Car proposals

December 9, 2010 by  

The government’s advisor on architecture, CABE, has welcomed the proposed cable car link between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks.

Their review of the scheme applauds “the elegance, inventiveness and originality” of the towers that will straddle the Thames, suggesting they will make an “iconic contribution” to this stretch of the river.

The designs for the stations are described as “less inspiring” and “lacking the ambition” of the towers, although the report notes that the “the south station seems well located, on the axis of the new Greenwich master plan.”

The review says that the crossing may “become a major visitor attraction” as well as needing to cope with a surge of users following events at the O2 and ExCel and so space will be required to accommodate “large numbers of visitors” and more consideration needs to be given to “passenger marshalling and control”.

WCs should be installed at the stations, CABE says, and if the stations become a place to “meet and linger” rather than just pass through, as they believe is likely, there might might be a “greater demand for cafes, restaurants and other facilities surrounding these stations than is currently predicted.”

Planning applications for the scheme have been lodged with Greenwich and Newham councils.

Read the full CABE review of the proposals here

Thames cable car planning application submitted

November 4, 2010 by  

Planning applications have been submitted to Greenwich and Newham councils by Transport for London for the construction of a new cable car system across the Thames.

The new scheme would provide a new direct transport link between the O2 and the Royal Victoria Dock, carrying up to 34 gondolas over 50 metres above the Thames.

Each gondola will be able to carry up to 10 people, creating “improved improved cross-river connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists”.

The scheme, which TFL believe will become a “visitor attraction in its own right”, consists of a station in North Greenwich, a station at Royal Docks and a number of steel towers with the two main towers both rising to about 85 metres in height.

The station at the Royal Docks would be the “drive station” where the system’s electric motor is housed. The Greenwich station would be the “return station” and also home to the gondola garage.

TFL are proposing that the Greenwich station be built a few hundred metres from the O2 on hard standing that is currently used for visitor coach parking.

The cable cars, considered to be “one of the most reliable forms of public transport in the world” according to the planning application, could be in operation by the time of the London 2012 Olympics.

A fare structure has not been devised yet but TFL plan to integrate the cable cars into the Oyster system and are forecasting suggested single fares at £2.50 for Oyster PAYG users and £3.50 for other users.

When news of the scheme first emerged in July, Nick Raynsford MP told Greenwich.co.uk that the scheme was a “nice little project” which would be good for tourism, but it wouldn’t address the “much wider problem” of the “absolutely hopeless cross river links” in the area.