diamond geezer

 Thursday, February 02, 2012

You'll be wanting an update, I'm sure, on latest progress towards the construction of the ArabFly Dangleway. In case you've forgotten, that's the cross-river cablecar which'll link a South London private entertainment venue to an East London private exhibition venue. The skyline connection which'll be of far greater interest to tourists than commuters. The sponsored aerial pod-link which the Mayor is part-funding from the public purse. That ArabFly Dangleway. How's it coming on? Rather well, since you ask.

ArabFly North Greenwich: The last time I was here, and had a cup of tea in the works canteen, there wasn't a lot to see. A pile of scaffolding rising from razed earth, with an upper deck picked out in timber, nothing more. Two months later, quite a change. The southern station is now clearly evident, with its upper platform supported by a thick central concrete block. The top level is long with one curved end, like a collapsed letter U. Tall white pillars stand ready to hold up a wall of glass, rising to further white latticework crossing the roof. And inside, or what will one day be inside, the system's machinery is mostly in place. At the riverward end it's already encased in plastic, but inshore the innards remain visible. It looks like the top shelf in a tyre showroom, with a collection of rubber wheels squished up in a curving line, ready to carry the various gondolas and their human contents as they swing round for embarkation [photo]. A few connecting staircases are evident, most for engineering use, one merely a ladder. And at the heart of it all a giant red wheel ready to rotate and move the cable around, if only there were a cable, which as yet there isn't [photo]. Plus, if all that weren't enough, a second building of similar size (but less interesting architecture) has appeared alongside. This is for the storage and maintenance of whichever of the 34 cabins aren't in motion across the river, and it too has an upper ringway of tightly-packed tyres. You won't be able to see much of any of this later, not from the outside, but for now the mechanics of the various interiors are plain to see. [photo]

South Main Tower: This is the big one, rising from the Thames off the Queen Elizabeth Pier. Or at least it will be the big one. It's not risen yet much further than water level, but a salvage platform stands guard by the site, piling complete, awaiting uplift. On the riverbank are two ginormous cranes, bowing towards each other and interlocked, or maybe it's one giant X-shaped crane looming high [photo]. Whatever, when the tower finally ascends, expect a spectacle.

North Main Tower: Across in Newham, the massive tower will rise from land not water. It's visible too, or at least the lowest cylinder of white metal is. Bolted securely to reclaimed industrial land, this first stage of pylon will support hundreds of thousands of sightseeing passovers during the cablecar's first year. It looks secure enough, so do try not to worry when you cross.

North Intermediate Tower: But this one's up and ready. It's the smallest of the three masts, designed to help lift skyward pods over the Royal Docks, but it still towers higher than anything else in the surrounding area. Elegant, twisted and thin, it rises to a narrow Y-shaped peak - a bit like a giant razor blade but where the blade's fallen off. Up top, all the necessary connecting shenanigans is already in place. Two arcs of wheels, over which each individual cablecar will joltingly pass. A gantry each side, presumably for maintenance, and not for use as a public escape route during the forthcoming disaster movie Dangleway Doom. And a balancing connecting bit, to support the whole thing high in the sky, as necessary. You might expect the view from up there to be stunning, and it might be, so long as you only look in certain directions. Look straight down in the immediate vicinity of the North Intermediate Tower and you'll see one of the ugliest landscapes that East London has to offer. The surrounding land is either industrial or post industrial. Open patches of earth await inward investment, should anybody ever care. High metal fences bar public access. Dock Road, running along the foot of the flyover, is home to wheelie bins, skips and minor commercial enterprises of the kind you'd normally hide beneath railway arches. Every so often a DLR train glides by, adding a welcome splash of colour [photo]. But, word of advice, don't look down, keep your eyes firmly fixed on the river, the Dome or the distant City skyscape.

ArabFly Royal Docks: The station on the northern side of the river is progressing a little slower than its southern counterpart. This station's different in that it's surrounded on three sides by water, built on a platform in the Royal Victoria Dock, so that'll have slowed things down a bit. Construction is ably assisted by the Haven SeaJack 3, a jack-up barge hired from Harwich, upon which a large crane has been positioned. All of the station's mechanics are nearly ready up top, exposed wheel-runners and all, but work has only just begun on the surrounding white cage. From the quayside it's easy to see the concrete station building underneath, with a selection of interior rooms and passages awaiting fit-out. Some of this will be a ticket office (see, I told you it was a tourist attraction), some will be steps for climbing to embarkation level, and some will be for the selling of coffee, pastries, and anything else that passengers can't be without for their five minute river-glide. The whole thing reminds me somehow of a giant hairdrier, or more likely a raygun lined up to fire across the Thames (precisely aimed at another raygun pointing back the opposite way). [photo]

The entire cablecar system should be ready during the summer, weather permitting, not that anybody's promising which side of the Olympics that'll be. And there'll be another brand new tourist attraction to see, should you fly in from North Greenwich, immediately after you exit the northside station...



The Crystal: This might not yet be on your radar, but a massive new spiky-shaped building is under construction at the western end of the Royal Victoria Dock [photo]. It's called the Crystal, and it's being built by German conglomerate Siemens to inspire and showcase "sustainable living choices". Inside, when it's finished, will be a major public exhibition, a 270-seat auditorium, and various other forward-looking facilities and technologies. The brochure describes this a "global knowledge hub that helps a diverse range of audiences learn and understand how we can all work to build better cities for ourselves and for future generations," which is the sort of language that reeks of tedious corporate worthiness, but I'd like to resist pre-judging the place before it opens in the summer. It's primed ready to attract Olympic crowds, those wandering ticketless around town with nothing better to do but swallow advertorial dressed up as education. And it's nearing completion, externally at least, like somebody dropped a huge new glass-panelled concert hall in the middle of nowheresville Newham. It'll be on your radar soon, The Crystal, trust me. And this July you might just ride from a mobile-sponsored Dome via an airline-sponsored cablecar to an engineering-sponsored sustainability exhibition. The future awaits.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Scandinavian Xmas Market
Friday 21 - Sunday 23 Nov
Festive northern wares at the
Norwegian Church, Rotherhithe

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
tired of london
in the aquarium
round the island
christopher fowler
thamesfacingeast
one bus at a time
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
uk general election 2015

read the archive
Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv