Emirates’ Air-Line – latest London attraction

I took a trip on the Emirates Air Line this morning and wanted to let you all know about one of the newest London attractions, available at a reasonable cost.

The cable car runs from the South to the North (and vice-verse) of the Thames, roughly between the O2 Arena (the Dome) and the ExCel exhibition centre.

The service consists of a number of 10 person cabins which run 7 days a week, from first thing in the morning (7am-9am, depending on day of the week) until 9pm in the evening. There are two stations close to the terminal, although both are about a 5 minute walk from the end of the Air-Line.

I went from South to North so travelled to North Greenwich (Jubilee Line) and then got on the DLR at Royal Victoria. On North Greenwich there is very little (read none) signposting, but the cars could be seen in the distance so I knew where to go. (It’s to the east, so exit the station and go in the opposite direction to the Dome.)

I arrived before the service was open to the public, although the cars were running. The staff checked that I had enough cash on my Oyster Pre-Pay and then let me know where to wait.

The station is new, and I think well designed. There are gates for Oyster cards on the ground level and a lift (and stairs) to the first floor where you board.

After going up stairs you arrive at the loading platform. There are more staff here to help and the three early birds, were a gentleman in a wheelchair, a builder working on a flat on the north side of the river, but living on the south and myself. The staff flipped up the seats for the man in the wheelchair so there was plenty of room for him, and then loaded the builder and I in to seperate cards which was nice.

Whilst the cars go quickly across, they slow inside the station, allowing plenty of time to board. They staff were really helpful and friendly, chatty and informative.

The loading platform is shown above and you can see three cars loading.

Inside the Car

Bench Seating, supposed to seat 5 on either side

The doors close as you leave the station, and the car starts to accelerate as it heads towards the first column

Heading out of the station

Although the car rocks a little as it passes each column it is pretty stable. I hate the swinging you find in normal cable cars so was delighted by this. Once airbourne the ride is nippy but gives great views.

Another car approaches

Looking back to the dome and Dockland in the background

Down river and the Thames Barrier in the distance

There is a view of City Airport as you come North, and some aircraft land over the top of the Air-Line.

The journey lasts about 7 minutes and the transfer from horizontal to downward travel is smooth:

Coming in to land on the North side

The car slows down on arrival making it easy to disembark. Going downstairs and through the barriers leads you out of the station.

A five minute to the DLR (again badly signposted – it’s right behind the building opposite the Air-Line station). The services run alternately to Bank and Stratford International.

View from DLR platform

DLR train arrives

Overall

A really good experience – although I expect it gets very busy at weekends and school holidays. Great that it is properly accessible for all – with wheelchair users able to face forward quite happily. Also nice to see it being used as a method of travel rather than just a tourist novelty.

Tickets

To give you a comprehensive over view of all tickets would be both a little dull and a little complex! Key feature:

  • The Air-Line is not covered as part of a Travelcard or Oyster Season ticket
  • You must buy a ticket at the stations or have enough on your Oyster to cover the trip (£3.80)
  • If you plan to travel back and forward as a single journey, then Oyster won’t work and you have to buy a boarding pass (!) but get a discount if you have an Oyster or Travelcard
  • Cash tickets are available at £4.30 each.
  • Full details of Pricing

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Comments

  1. Very cool addition to my old neighborhood! I saw this on the Aloft Excel Facebook page and was wondering what it was !

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