Testing starts on new River Thames cable car scheme

Cabins that will be used to transport passengers across the River Thames have now all undergone rigorous testing.

The cable car, which will be known as the Emirates Air Line, will link the Royal Victoria Docks with the Greenwich Peninsula from this summer.

All 34 cabins took off last week, with weights aping the maximum number of passengers, on a “load testing flight.”

The development comes after the three towers that will link the 1.1km worth of cabling were completed last month.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, hailed the progress of the project. It will provide a direct link from the ExCeL centre to the O2 Arena.

“The speed with which we have gone from designs to safety testing of the Emirates Air Line is a clear demonstration of London’s ability to deliver world class projects and attract major investment,” he said.

“This new transport link is set to support my plans to transform east London into a vibrant new metropolitan quarter boasting new jobs, homes and enterprise.”

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The new river crossing will have the capacity to carry up to 2,500 people per hour in each direction – the equivalent of 30 buses an hour.

It promises spectacular views of the likes of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Olympic Park, and the Gherkin.

Mr Johnson secured �36 million from Emirates to fund the connection, which will also serve as an additional interchange between the Jubilee line and the Docklands Light Railway.

He added: “Londoners can now see this fabulous new feature of our city’s skyline being put through its paces before they can get on board themselves to breathe in the stunning views it will afford.”

Engineers say both terminals and landscaping either side of the river is now nearing completion.

Laurie Berryman, from Emirates, added: “This test flight is a significant milestone in the development of this new transport system, and brings us closer to being able to fly passengers across the Thames between the two terminals.”

Transport for London consulted earlier this year on Mr Johnson’s proposals for further river crossings in Newham.

A river tunnel to Silvertown and a new ferry crossing at Gallions Reach, Beckton, could be completed within the next decade if permission is granted and funding secured.