diamond geezer

 Saturday, January 18, 2014

Yesterday TfL announced that cyclists are to be allowed to use the Docklands Light Railway. They've just run a six month trial to see if bikes on the DLR caused a problem, and they didn't, so now the agreement's permanent. Cyclists are welcome only during off-peak hours and at weekends, but that's most of the time, which is very good news.

So I thought I'd put together some maps to show how various forms of transport cross the Thames to the east of Tower Bridge. They'll be quite simple maps because there are remarkably few river crossings between the Tower and the eastern edge of London, and indeed none whatsoever for the seven miles past Woolwich.

Here are the possible crossings by bus.

The red arrow to the left of the map is Tower Bridge, with three buses crossing (42, 78 and RV1). Go beyond, however and there's only one possible crossing by bus, which is the 108 through the Blackwall Tunnel. Only one.

Here are the possible crossings by road.

Downstream from Tower Bridge we find the Rotherhithe Tunnel, the Blackwall Tunnel and the Woolwich Ferry. They're the brown arrows. Meanwhile in pink are two potential crossings, of which one or the other might get built. The first of these is the Silvertown Tunnel, currently preferred by TfL if not by local residents. And the other is the Gallions Reach Ferry, or maybe the Gallions Reach Bridge if there's money, which there isn't. So really there's just the three ways across east of Tower Bridge. No wonder they're busy.

Here are the possible crossings by riverboat.

The Thames Clipper service isn't really meant as a way to cross the river, more to travel along it, but several criss-cross journeys are possible. If a bit expensive.

Here are the possible crossings for pedestrians.

There are two foot tunnels, one to Greenwich, the other to Woolwich, both free. I've also added the Rotherhithe Tunnel, but in red because you'd need to have a carbon monoxide deathwish to walk it. A better option is the Woolwich Ferry, which is free for foot passengers, but essentially doubles up on the Foot Tunnel. Plus now there's the cablecar, which fills a very useful gap along the river, but at a price.

Here are the possible crossings by train.

These are all either tube or DLR services - no mainline rail services cross the Thames (in London) downstream of Cannon Street. First up is the Overground between Wapping and Rotherhithe, then three crossings via the Jubilee line (which is quite the best thing to happen to cross-river connectivity in recent years). The DLR crosses the Thames twice, once at Greenwich and once at Woolwich. And if you wait a few years there'll be an additional crossing via Crossrail, again via Woolwich. Crossing the river by train in inner East London isn't actually too hard.

And finally, here are the possible crossings by bike.

Tower Bridge is the only easy crossing. Bikes are allowed through the Rotherhithe Tunnel, which I've marked in red because that's a horrible ordeal, but are barred from the Blackwall Tunnel. The Overground allows bikes off-peak, I think, if I read the rules properly. The cablecar allows bikes, which is one of its strengths, as does the free Woolwich Ferry. Bikes are also allowed through the two Foot Tunnels, though it's a pain getting them down and then you're supposed to walk through, not that everybody does. The two extra arrows on the map, as of this week, are the two DLR crossings. One's at Greenwich and one's at Woolwich - doubling up on Foot Tunnels and trebling up on ferries, hence the multiple arrows. So you could argue that DLR approval for bikes isn't especially useful, given that it goes nowhere new. Or you could rejoice, because the DLR provides fresh access at a distance, knitting together two halves of the capital in a speedy modern manner. Beats driving.


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