diamond geezer

 Friday, November 23, 2007

How do you get from Wapping to Rotherhithe?

Easy. you take the East London line under the river through the Thames Tunnel. It takes about one minute. Next question please.

How do you get from Wapping to Rotherhithe in a month's time?

Ah, not so simple. One month from today the East London line will be closing down, for 2½ years, so that it can be magically re-engineered as part of the new London Overground. And that means that the Thames Tunnel will be closing too, and no trains will be running between Wapping and Rotherhithe until June 2010. So you're going to have to find another route. Sorry, your journey may take a little longer.

If you're a car driver there's an obvious road option - the Rotherhithe Tunnel. Drive from Wapping to Limehouse, and then you can head under the Thames through this 99-year old single bore tunnel. The full journey is longer than you might expect - 2.7 miles according to the AA - and should take about 13 minutes. Or you could drive west instead and cross the river via Tower Bridge - again 13 minutes but this time 2.9 miles. It's not exactly speedy, but it'll do. If you have a car.

Or you could walk. Believe it or not pedestrians are allowed to walk through the Rotherhithe Tunnel. I can't imagine why anyone would want to risk walking alongside the rumbling traffic for a mile, breathing in lungfuls of trapped exhaust fumes, but apparently an average of 20 people a day do exactly that. The healthy alternative is to head up Wapping High Street, cross Tower Bridge and continue down Jamaica Road. It's a 2½ mile walk, though, and takes 50 minutes at a medium walking speed. Maybe not.

Or you could take the bus. Route 395 runs through the Rotherhithe Tunnel on its all too brief journey from Limehouse to Canada Water. Ah, hang on, no it doesn't. The 395 was scrapped last year because too few people were using it. At the time of its death it was a 15-seater red minibus, running only twice an hour and for no particularly good reason. Now a similar journey from one side of the Thames to the other requires three separate buses and over an hour's travel time.

Or you could take the tube. There won't be a direct tube connection once the East London line closes, of course, so TfL are running four rail replacement bus services instead. Sorry, they won't be much use either.
Shoreditch → Whitechapel (every 20 minutes)
Whitechapel → Shadwell → Wapping (every 10 minutes)
Rotherhithe → Canada Water (every 15 minutes)
Canada Water → Surrey Quays → New Cross → New Cross Gate (every 5-8 minutes)
[Full details in this comprehensive leaflet]
Notice that you can't ride the whole line in one go, it's been split into four distinct sections. And one section is missing, the half-mile under the Thames between Wapping and Rotherhithe. Damn.

So why isn't there going to be a direct cross-river replacement bus service? It's because of width restrictions in the Rotherhithe Tunnel. No bus bigger than a minibus would be allowed, and minibuses (like the old 395) are too small to cope with the expected number of displaced passengers. So there won't be any buses at all. TfL recommend that you make cross-river journeys "via the Jubilee line and DLR". What they don't tell you is how long those alternative journeys will take...

From Wapping to Rotherhithe, your first step will be the replacement bus service to Shadwell [average wait 5 minutes, journey time 6 minutes]. Here you can catch the DLR [transfer time 5 minutes]. Going west via Bank would involve travelling through Zone 1 which might cost extra, so we'll go east instead [average wait 2 minutes] to Canary Wharf [journey time 7 minutes]. Next walk to the Jubilee line [transfer time 7 minutes] and ride one stop west to Canada Water [average wait 2 minutes, journey time 3 minutes]. And finally exit the station [transfer time 5 minutes] and catch the replacement rail bus to Rotherhithe [average wait 7 minutes, journey time 4 minutes]. That's a grand total of 53 minutes for those who choose to follow TfL's advice. It would be quicker to walk.

In one month's time, when the East London line closes, it'll be completely impossible to cross the Thames by public transport at any point between Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. A 3-mile-long invisible barrier will have been erected across the middle of the capital, inhibiting all passenger travel across the river between south and east London. It's all for a good cause - a much better railway from the summer of 2010. But you'd better start planning those alternative routes now.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
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 me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream