Riding the Dangleway. On 4 July 2010, TfL announced plans to develop a cable car crossing over the River Thames. It is the first urban cable car in the United Kingdom. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, it crosses the river at a height up to 90 metres (300 ft), higher than that of the Millennium Dome. The cable car provides a crossing every 15 seconds carrying up to 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction, equivalent to the capacity of 50 buses. The cable car can also convey bicycles and passengers are able to use Oyster Cards to pay for their journeys.
A planning application was submitted to the London Borough of Newham in October 2010 for the "erection of a cable car for the length of 1,100 metres [3,600 ft] over the River Thames from North Woolwich Peninsula to Royal Victoria Dock at a minimum clearance of 54.1 metres [177 ft] above mean high water springs". The application listed the structures planned for the service on the north side of the Thames as an 87-metre (285 ft) north main tower at Clyde Wharf, a 66-metre (217 ft) north intermediate tower south of the Docklands Light Railway tracks roughly mid-way between Canning Town and West Silvertown stations, a two-storey gondola station and "boat impact protection" in Royal Victoria Dock. South of the river there is a 60-metre (200 ft) main support tower and a boarding station within the O2 Arena car park.
When the project was announced, TfL initially budgeted that it would cost £25 million and announced this would be entirely funded by private finance. This figure was revised to £45 million, and by September 2011 the budget had more than doubled to £60 million, reportedly because TfL had not taken account of the costs of legal advice, project management, land acquisition and other costs. TfL planned to make up the shortfall by paying for the project out of the London Rail budget, applying for funding from the European Regional Development Fund and seeking commercial sponsorship.
In January 2011, News International were planning to sponsor the project but subsequently withdrew its offer. In October 2011, it was announced that the Dubai-based airline Emirates would provide £36 million in a 10-year sponsorship deal which included branding of the cable car service with the airline's name.
Construction began in August 2011 with Mace as the lead contractor. Mace built the cable car for £45 million and will operate it for the first three years for a further £5.5 million. TfL stated that the initial construction funding and Emirates sponsorship will cover £36 million of the cost; the rest will be funded from fares. The cable car will be the most expensive cable system ever built.
In May 2012, TfL said that the cable car would be ready for people to use by summer 2012, and that while there were originally no plans to have it open before the 2012 Olympics, there would be plans in place in case it was opened in time. The public opening took place at 12:00 BST on 28 June 2012. TfL reports that the total cost of the project was about £60 million of which £45 million went towards construction. TfL estimates that the service can carry 2,500 people per hour.