Emirates Air Line

The Emirates Air Line is a cable car link across the River Thames that opened just before the London Olympics.


I’ll confess I knew nothing about this Cable Car over the Thames before I saw a piece on the TV news about it when it opened. I was confused as to what it was and how it could be there (and where it was taking people).



The Emirates Air Line was (evidently) built with sponsorship from the airline Emirates. The service opened on 28 June 2012 and is operated by Transport for London. The service, which cost an estimated £60 million, comprises a 1-kilometre (0.62 mi) gondola line that crosses the Thames from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks.


Fast forward to November and I needed to get to a meeting in Canary Wharf after lunch. Rather than eating lunch and setting out I set off early and got the DLR toward Beckton to arrive in Royal Victoria where the Air Line departs from. I took it over the Thames and I had my NEX-7 with me, but the weather was terrible, the rain began to fall while I was queuing and the wind was so bad I arrived in Canary Wharf a shade of green. In looking at the shots afterwards I couldn’t really identify many I wanted to keep – lots of blur and out of focus shots. I gave up on the idea of writing a blog post.


Fast forward again to this week I was planning to head over to the south bank for some street photography, but on a whim decided to head for North Greenwich to take the Air Line the other way over the Thames. The weather wasn’t great, but was a lot better than November. I knew what to expect so I dropped my X-Pro1 into multiple exposure mode. While I had a lot more shots in focus and sharp, I suffered from reflections on many of my shots. I guess I couldn’t get away from the fact I was shooting through Plexiglass, with spots here and there.


Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself – it’s a great view you get down the Thames, even if the locations isn’t stunning by itself – lets be honest, something like this couldn’t have been built in central London.

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Critics of the cable car have dismissed it as an impractical solution, which appeals to tourists at peak times but that is unlikely to attract a large number of cross-river locals or commuters due to its location and costs.



Advocates of walking and cycling preferred a Sustrans-sponsored plan for a walking and cycling bridge east of Tower Bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf. After the Olympics, passenger numbers have been less than 10% of capacity, which I guess shows that some of the criticisms were warranted.



Nonetheless, it is spectacular, with its views over the Thames, the Thames Barrier and the O2.




Taken with my NEX-7 and Sigma 30mm lens (2nd and third shots – from November) and X-Pro1 plus 18-55mm lens (for the rest, this week).

One thought

  1. Pingback: Fleetwood Mac at the O2 with the E-P5 | sgoldswoblog

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