Cable Cars over London

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditor

200805221150.jpgThe Guardian reports twice on the news that TfL is seriously considering a scheme in which the proposed river crossing between Beckton and Thamesmead could be fulfilled by a cable car system.

Cable cars are increasingly used for mass transit in world cities and across rivers because they need little space, have virtually no waiting time, can run at over 20mph, and have very low emissions. They are already used in New York, Istanbul, Vancouver, Madrid, Caracas and Hamburg and other cities are planning systems. A cable car has crossed the Rhine in Cologne since 1957.

The report suggests that a cable car system for London could take up to 5,000 people an hour in each direction over the river between Beckton and Thamesmead, with cable cars arriving every 22 seconds. It would take two minutes to cross the river and could link in with other public transport systems and City airport.

It is heartening to see that this scheme matches a project which we covered a year ago, Poma's Cable Metro System. Whilst impractical in many areas, for river crossings and longer distance journeys with few stops, the system would be ideal, being cheap to install, producing few emissions, and offering iconic importance to London's skyline.

As the Guardian states:

The cable car option is likely to be taken seriously. Boris Johnson, mayor of London since the start of May and now chair of Transport for London, said before his election that that he was not satisfied with the £500m bridge option.

This project offers many incentives to the Mayor: it can be built cheaply and be in place before 2012. Whilst no project is perfect, in this case many of the needs that London faces can be met by cable cars. It remains to be seen how bold Mayor Johnson will be on this issue.

We will report any progress on this issue here.