The Cable Car: Ultimate Action Accessory

Some modes of transport have got it. And all the rest pale in comparison.

The cable car is the ultimate action accessory. You get your hero. Stick them hundreds of feet in the air without a safety net, stick in a villain, and Bob’s your uncle.

The cable does it properly, every time. Its backdrop is almost peerless when it comes to action films. But the cable car has hidden depths. It is possible it is even more flexible than we draeamed possible. Yesterday I espied a cable car which would not have looked out of place in the very first, seminal science fiction film ever made, the glorious Metropolis by Fritz Lang. Take a look at his city scapes.

Yesterday, as Felix’s birthday treat, we trundled across London to Greenwich. It’s the other side of London to us and thus, we never see it. It is like a foreign country to us.

But we were looking for the ultimate action experience for a 10-year-old boy. The London Eye? I volunteered. Nothing like a huge great ferris wheel to make a treat go with a bang.

But the London Eye is pricey, and though it goes up and then down again and has Parliament at its feet, Phil had a better idea.

A couple of days before the opening of the 2012 Olympics, a cable car opened, spanning the Thames between the Royal Docks and the Greenwich Peninsula. It cost around £60 million to build, and it rises almost impossibly high, supported up to 300 feet by three great white futuristic pylons. It carries 2500 passengers an hour.

And to go one way costs just £4.30 for a grown up.

It can, surely, be only a matter of time before superheroes and villains suss this place out. For yesterday the Shrewsdays took the Docklands Light Railway (which has no driver, so the kids can pretend to drive) to the cable car, and took a one-way flight to Greenwich.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the future, and it is here. Spectacular? You’ve never seen such a contraption as this.Classic, Hitchcock lines in an uncompromisingly modern setting, flawless organisation, comfortable travel. Fritz Lang would have put one in his cities if only he had taken a moment to think.

All the Thames Cable Car lacks is in-flight champagne.

The London Eye, the London Schmye. The Thames Cable Car does it right. I could see it all: the Thames Flookd Barrier, the Olympic Park, The O2 arena. and great Father Thames stretching broad below me.

I kept glancing over my shoulder for Mr Bond. But he was probably on top of the cable car, doing his day job.


Writen in response to Side View’s weekend theme: Doing It Right, which you can find here. If you fancy a grapple, you can find out more about the Thames Cable Car here.


26 thoughts on “The Cable Car: Ultimate Action Accessory

      1. You can? Excellent. I feel a day coming on. Wish I’d found a way of using it when I visited the David Beckham academy next door to the O2.

  1. ooh, *looks for big girl pants*, we’re off to Essex next week for 10 days, and a trip to Greenwich is a possibility. Could I learn to be brave enough for a cable car before then?? It looks amazing, aparat from that pesky height thing…

    1. Fiona, you will NOT be disappointed. It gives a whole new meaning to the rerm ‘cheap thrills’. 300 feet is a very long way up, but just think of Mr Bond in his undies on top of the car and you’ll be fine. Enjoy those big girl pants.

    1. Oh, Valerie, you know me better than that. I sussed out Greenwich Observatory, the meridian line and the Cutty Sark. And had time for a lunch in a Mexican themed restaurant…HUGE sombreros….

  2. I will have to check this out the next time I’m there, Kate. I enjoy riding cable cars. It challenges my fear of heights. I’m glad Felix got a suitable birthday treat.

  3. Great photos, Kate—that cable car ride looks like it has a spectacular view. My next visit to the UK is going to have to be a month-long trip so I can see everything. The last time I went to London was just before the London Eye went up, so clearly it’s been a while.

  4. The Lovely Miss TK and I just did this in Lisbon last week, really cool to move slowly and see all the sights below. I believe ours was only about 125 feet high, though. I imagine young Master Felix was quite taken with it all.

  5. I’d never heard of this attraction, and my son didn’t mention it when describing his recent trip to London. I wonder if he saw it. Would be perfect for a movie — the combatants would of course have to fall into the river.

  6. That looks like a lot of fun.
    When I grew up Disneyland had a cable-car that went over the whole park. However, for safety concerns, they shut it own a while ago. It is now the line used to send Tinkerbell to light the fireworks for Fantasmic (the ridiculous evening fireworks show, and the ideal time to get on rides without waiting in super-long lines.)

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