Cabling London

Often criticised, London’s transport system served us well and we were more than satisfied with the ease we could get from a to b. Certainly, the oyster card helped very much and there is now a contactless system in operation. We used, underground, overground trains, buses (including the jump-on-and-off “Boris” bus), the Croydon tram, the riverbus on that vast but so under- used thirty-lane motorway called the Thames, and yesterday we even tried a “flight” over the capital.

The cable-car system, financed by the Emirates airline company but administered by Transport for London, was opened in time for the country’s 2012 Olympic games to connect the O2 sports hall on the Greenwich peninsula with  the edexcel centre on the river’s north bank. Rising to a height of over three hundred feet and with 34 constantly circulating gondole the system  offers superb views over the city’s fast developing docklands area.

Although not an alternative to the London wheel, which provides the classic views over the city’s most famous landmarks, the telepherique is an added bonus for a city lacking the kind of high hills like the pizzorne which give eagle-eyed views over the urban landscape of Lucca..

It‘s just a twenty minute journey there and back in a gondola, which comfortably holds eight passengers, and the views extend from the Ally Pally in North London to the Crystal palace tower in south London,  and from the great river’s estuary to the isle of dogs. Don’t expect to see Big Ben, however!

At the end of the “flight” we visited the aviation centre where we could “fly” a plane of the Emirates fleet, have pictures taken of us in exotic locations the company flies to and even arrange for jet liner pilot training through a fully equipped simulation training cockpit.

Great fun was had by all and it was certainly a good way to keep an otherwise temporary, even “white elephant” project, continuing as yet another novel London transport system.

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