Thames cable car in full swing

Thames cable car in full swing
By Eurosport

10/08/2012 at 22:40Updated 10/08/2012 at 23:45

We take a trip over the River Thames, close to the Olympic Park, on the spectacular new Emirates AirLine cable car...

Carrying up to 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction (the equivalent of 50 London buses) and accessible with a trusty pay-as-you-go Oyster Card, the Emirates AirLine cable car has proved an additional attraction to fans during the Olympics.

The sixty-metre-high cable car spans the Thames from North Greenwich Arena to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, ferrying passengers between the two biggest Olympic venues outside of the Olympic Park.

Every 30 seconds a gondola takes passengers soaring 160 feet above the Thames on a five-minute, one-kilometre journey that opens up unprecedented views over the Olympic Park, London Docklands, Canary Wharf, the Thames Barrier and the centre of London.

"It's great fun and the children loved it," said Gail Stevens, who took the cable car with her sons Jonathan and Henry. "I didn't stop taking photos because on a clear day like today you can see for miles," she added.

"It's like being in a ski resort but without the equipment," said Rebecca Miles, who arrived at her gymnastics event early last week so she and her father could take a return trip on London's newest and most novel means of transport.

"I've been on hundreds of cable cars before when skiing but this is a little different because the views are of London and they're really quite brilliant. You can see right over the City – including iconic buildings like the Shard and Gherkin," she added.

Moments after witnessing boxer Katie Taylor pick up Ireland's first gold medal of the Games at the ExCeL Centre on Thursday afternoon, Dubliners John O'Leary and Mary Clark took the cable car for the first time.

"It's a tremendous view. It's really spectacular," said John, draped in an Irish flag. "Us Irish tend to give things names so I think we'll christen this 'Katie's cable car' to commemorate our boxing triumph."

The service operates through the week from 7am until 9pm. Gates open an hour later on Saturdays while the service runs from 9am on Sundays. Those using the Thames cable car regularly can make 10 single journeys for a reduced fee using a "frequent flyer" pass.

The Emirates AirLine is part of a strong portfolio of transport options available to spectators during the London Olympics, including the special high-speed Javelin train service which links King's Cross St Pancras station to the Olympic Park in less than seven minutes.

Completed a month ahead of London 2012, the £60-million project will stay open after the Games, with Major Boris Johnson hoping it will become as much a part of London's famous skyline as the London Eye opposite the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.