Docklands cable car opens for business

1 July 2012 at 12:11 | Posted in Docklands present, Photos | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

On Thursday this week the Emirates Air Line, a new cable car spanning the Thames between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks, opened for business. The Mayor was there for the press launch, which generated a huge amount of publicity, with TV crews from all over the world, and from midday the public could get on board. There were long queues on both sides of the Thames and a great deal of enthusiasm.

If you are interested in the development of London’s docklands, the Air Line offers an entirely new angle on the area, with superb views of the Greenwich Peninsula, Canary Wharf and the Royal Docks; and there are views to the City, with the Shard and London Eye poking between the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. To the north the Olympic Park is visible, to the east the runway of City Airport lines up beautifully, with the Thames Barrier and Shooters Hill to its right. To the south, the Crystal Palace transmitters show their size, and down in maritime Greenwich the Naval College is clearly visible.

^^ The picture above shows the very smart South terminal, with a large area of new public realm around it. The queues are from the first Saturday.

^^From mid-flight the view across the O2 (Dome) to Canary Wharf is very special; I can’t wait to see this view at night.

^^Approaching the northern bank, and a lovely aerial view of the Royal Docks is apparent, including the runway of City Airport; in the above shot from opening day, a plane is coming in to land.

^^Silvertown remains resolutely industrial south of the DLR for now, but for how long? Meanwhile there’s a lovely view of Western Gateway, Britannia Village and ExCel from here

^^As you descend towards the north terminal in the Royal Victoria Dock you pass over the gardens of the Siemens Pavilion, which is a new office and visitor centre for Siemens, who supplied the electric motors for the cable car. This will be a free exhibition on modern technologies, so a perfect fit with the cable car outside its windows.

^^Coming back to the south terminal, it is clear how the lovely new public space is surrounded by open parking; fortunately this is not destined to last for ever, with advanced plans for development around the cable car which should give it a dramatic setting in future years.

^^A final shot shows the lovely view across the O2 (Dome) to Canary Wharf and central London on a day of sunshine and cloudy skies.

It’s easy to go for a ride; the simplest way is to pitch up with an Oyster card with credit on it, and just touch in and out; this avoids any ticket queues. The cheapest way is to buy a multi-trip ticket for £16 which gives 10 trips – that’s less than one trip on the London Eye, and you get to see a fascinating landscape that will keep on changing as the regeneration pushes eastwards. Highly recommended, just try to go in good weather as it won’t be quite the same in the rain.


Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.