Google+ London Architecture Blog: Week 30 13 Feature #23 Emirates Air Line

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Week 30 13 Feature #23 Emirates Air Line

Emirates Air Line
Project Team: Wilkinson Eyre (architects), Expedition Engineering and Buro Happold (Engineers), Mace (contractors)
Date Constructed: 2010-2012
Location:  Greenwich/ Docklands

The Emirates Air Line is a cable car operated by TFL and designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects to carry passengers over the River Thames between the Greenwich peninsular and the Royal Docks. Construction started on the structure in 2011 and was completed in June 2012 ahead of the London 2012 Olympic games.

The southern terminal of the air line is situated on the Greenwich peninsula to the east of the O2 arena, and the northern terminal is located on the northern edge of the Royal Docks beside the Excel Exhibition and Conference Centre. From each terminal, passengers access the cars at a raised level and are then lifted up and over the River Thames before lowering back down to the opposing terminal. At either ends of the line are underground and DLR lines linking back to the main transport routes.  

The structure consists of three steel pylons, one which is located on the Greenwich side of the River Thames and two beside the Royal docks. The pylons support the rotating cable, a 50mm thick continuous steel cable rotated at each end by two wheels located within the terminal buildings. Also included in the terminals are brakes and safety mechanisms. The passenger cars are fixed to the cable via a grip system which enables the cars to travel with the cable (at a speed of up to around 6 m/s) or when released, to allow boarding into and out of the cars.

In total, the line measures 1km and measures 90m at its highest point. The air line holds 36 passenger cars capable of transporting 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction. 

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