diamond geezer

 Wednesday, November 06, 2019

London gained a new river pier last month, at Royal Wharf, from which you can catch Thames Clipper services into central London.



That's Royal Wharf, the major new residential neighbourhood at Silvertown in Newham, which when complete next year should have 10000 residents. Those residents already have a DLR station at Pontoon Dock to link them to Canning Town, and now they have a river boat service from a brand new pier jutting out into the Thames. It's a long pier too, the first arm launching off at an angle towards a jagged platform, the second stretching further via a covered walkway to a floating jetty. I think it's the longest publicly accessible pier anywhere in London.

The Thames Clipper service runs every half hour, roughly speaking, except between 10am and 5pm on weekdays when it doesn't operate at all. It's essentially the same service that Woolwich gets, Royal Wharf being an extra stop (which means commuting from the Royal Arsenal now takes two minutes longer). Alas I visited during the day when there were no boats and found the entire pier locked shut, presumably to prevent high jinks, which was a shame because it looked like there was a seating area halfway out with fine river views. So I went back again after dark.



The riverside at Royal Wharf is a lonely place at night. Much of the western half of the site is still a building site so you can only approach from the east, and the entrance to the jetty is tucked away in an unfinished corner. No large obvious sign has been placed by the riverside, only an information board (with times and fares) plonked on the tarmac and a machine for buying tickets. But I did now have access to a blade of light stretching off above the river, the slats along each side blazing red, and somewhere beyond maybe a boat.

I decided against taking a seat on the illuminated triangle halfway down, it being a bit drizzly, but if I had I could have enjoyed views downstream towards the Thames Barrier. I can also confirm that the grimmer flank of industrial Greenwich looks prettier after dark. It's here at the halfway point that the River roundel appears, plain enough above the entrance to the covered walkway, but from onshore it's distant, small and easily overlooked.



The platform at the foot of the ramp is an unexpectedly impressive structure. A terrace of wooden seating faces the river, protected behind a large pane of glass in case of inclement weather, almost as if this were somewhere to put on a performance rather than somewhere to wait for a boat. Another ticket machine is available, plus a Next Boat Indicator which is supposed to tell you if anything's coming during the next 30 minutes. I learned not to trust it.

Being so far out into the river it was now possible to see the full sweep of North Greenwich on the western horizon and beyond that Canary Wharf, which is a panorama tenants at Royal Wharf alas don't get. A boat did eventually arrive from central London and disgorged just three passengers, suggesting the service has yet to take off with its target audience. After it sped away I was left alone in the middle of the Thames, no more than a metre above the waves, exploring the various nooks and crannies and enjoying a rare spell of midriver solitude. And then I walked back up the ramp.



I didn't get on the boat because travelling by Thames Clipper from Royal Wharf isn't cheap. A journey upstream to North Greenwich or Canary Wharf costs £4.40 with Oyster, this being the flat fare for the 'East' zone, and if commuting into Central London the fare is £7.30. Indeed the boat journey costs more than twice as much as travelling via DLR and Jubilee line, and it takes more than twice as long. If you hate battling the crowds on the tube and have time and money to spare then the Thames Clipper option may be for you, but otherwise it's hard to see the benefit.

Here's what Thames Clippers said when the service started, not entirely truthfully.
"From Friday 18 October 2019, Thames Clippers will begin calling at Royal Wharf. Our 23rd pier provides a new transport option to and from central London for residents of the Royal Docks, visitors to ExCel London and travellers using London City Airport."
Firstly the new pier is only convenient if you happen to live at Royal Wharf. The Royal Docks are vast, so most of its residents don't live anywhere near a single jetty in Silvertown. Secondly anyone travelling this way to get to ExCel is a fool because that's the other side of Royal Victoria Dock and requires an additional 15 minute walk via a lofty footbridge. And thirdly City Airport is even further away than that, so anyone with luggage really ought to have caught the DLR instead.

Meanwhile here are some highly misleading travel times from the Royal Wharf developers' website.



The DLR times are from Pontoon Dock, which is fair enough because that is one minute's walk from the edge of the estate, but the Underground times are from Canning Town so look much better than they really are. As for those Crossrail times, not only did the purple line not open last year but getting to Custom House will require a lengthy hike across the aforementioned footbridge. There are no direct buses. Even the riverboat times are wrong, based on some fantasy timetable the marketing team dreamed up rather than real life.

Here's what the times should have been, assuming an optimum start point on the very edge of the Royal Wharf estate.



I wonder how many new residents were tempted in by the effortlessly short journey times, only to realise later they're not that good.



I hope they enjoy living in their stacky boxes, most without any kind of river view, on a densely packed estate served by three coffee shops, a Sainsbury's, two letting agents, a pharmacy and a nail bar.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
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

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  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

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

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
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
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
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