Another cable car to the Experience! (?)

In the item below taken from Meridian Line for June 1998, the following astonishing proposal has been touted as being of ‘benefit’ to house prices in the East Greenwich area. The accompanying artists impressions of the scheme reveal that it follows the line of the waterfront from Greenwich Pier to the MEX site and, yes, you’ve guessed it, passes right across Canaletto’s landscape view of the Royal Naval College from the Isle of Dogs!

An earlier plan for a cable car link between the MEX site and East India Dock DLR Station on the north bank of the River Thames received outline planning permission in March 1998 (but later collapsed).

‘The plan is for a cable car transport system running between the Millennium Dome and West Greenwich. The Mercable Transport Company apparently plans to provide the vital 2 km link to transport the millions of tourists between the high technology exhibits on the Greenwich Peninsula and the World Heritage site of Greenwich, with its Royal Naval College, fine Wren churches and National Maritime Museum. The cable cars, operating in a complete loop, provide the essential transport system needed to overcome the constant traffic congestion which plagues south-east London. This will be a permanent link so it will strengthen the attractions of the residential and commercial property which is being built at the Millennium Village. Costing £35 million, the system is the brainchild of Blackheath-based designer Robert Kirkman, who has gathered together a team of engineers, planners and property consultants with the aim of having the project completed by the end of next year. The well-tried system, which is commonly used in ski resorts, will have a capacity of 3,000 passengers an hour in 119 four-person cars. These will be egg-shaped to symbolise the birth of the new millennium and will operate in a continuous flow system between stations at the Dome and West Greenwich.

The operating procedure is for the gondolas to be unhooked when they enter the terminus building, allowing passengers to exit or board, as the cars move along slowly. On passing a critical point, the doors of the gondola close automatically as it accelerates to the speed of the overhead cable and is rehooked onto it. The overall journey time between the Dome and Greenwich, with the gondolas travelling at 5 metres a second, will be seven minutes. We happen to know that English Partnerships is interested in the project because of its impact on the Millennium site. I am sure they would also like to see it extended to the Royal Arsenal site in Woolwich which also faces the problem of inadequate transport links.’

From: Meridian Line, June 1998, (with editorial comment!)

David Riddle

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