I last mentioned the cable cars in Greenwich last June when I did a walk from North Greenwich station up to the Ecology centre (find it here). At that point the cable cars were still being tested and the launch date was being kept quiet in case they… well, didn’t open on time.
It took me until November to manage to try them out, and again until now to edit the photographs and write about it. Yes, amazingly, what you find below is an edit of photographs! It is hard not to take too many when you doing a journey you might not repeat, and on such a shiny day.
Since their launch in June, the value of the cable cars has been much debated in local and national news: because of their high/inconsistent fares, the cost of construction, the restricted hours that it runs, basically the fact that this route doesn’t offer a serious river crossing for the commuter. If you are interested in these discussions, try reading 853 blog‘s view of the subject, or read Diamond Geezer.
I know for a fact that I will not use this crossing regularly, and that I went once for fun (conquering my vertigo for the day). I agree that the ticket price was possibly high, but as a one off for someone who lives in the area and has an Oyster card, it was not extortionate. I don’t have a regular need to get from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria Docks, and I doubt a huge number of people do, but as a new addition to London I have to say I like the look of it and I don’t mind if the many visitors to Greenwich travel further eastwards to explore this extra addition to the area.
I personally was more interested in taking a few photographs from the air on a good, clear, sunny day out with the family. I’m glad we waited for our trip too as, since September, there is even somewhere to look around when you get to the east side, apart from the ExCel centre, where I have still never needed to go in my life: The Crystal is a new building and exhibition space over there as you get off the cable car at the Royal Victoria Docks. It was a cold day when we visited, and we were pleased to find a free space which taught you something (about urban sustainability), had interactive exhibits for the kids to play with, and a warm café (which had potential but wasn’t quite sorted yet). You can’t deny the fact that the cable cars are the main event, and going around the Crystal is a bit like half time – or the interval. But having one complements the other – and the mirrored exterior looks good in the photos.
It was fun being up above the O2 Centre, where crazy people were climbing over its head. I enjoyed the views of Canary Wharf from up there, of the Thames Barrier, of various buildings whose names I don’t know, of that side of the peninsula. I have kept in the pictures of the children’s faces as they were going up on their first cable car journeys (but removed other family members who weren’t looking quite so positively excited). I myself wasn’t too keen on the windy moments when the little pods rocked to and fro, but I always comforted myself in knowing that the whole trip was only 5 minutes (or possibly 10).
I have edited as far as I could but I like these photographs, and I might not go up there again (not at that price! not from there to there!) so I hope you enjoy them too.