London's first cable car lifts off

Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:10pm EDT
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By Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - London's first cable car service opened its doors to the public on Thursday, a spectacular ride high across the River Thames near the Olympic Park which will help visitors to the Games avoid any jams on the ground.

Called the Emirates Air Line, it soars almost 300ft above the river, offering 360-degree views of the east of the capital including the O2 concert Arena and the Canary Wharf financial district.

It opens in time for the Olympics which begin next month and will help serve three venues south of the river as well as provide a link to the Olympic Park on its north side.

Passengers can embark at North Greenwich, where the O2 concert arena is based, which will be known as the North Greenwich Arena during the Games, and where artistic and trampoline gymnastics will be held as well as some basketball games.

Nearby Greenwich Park will host equestrian events.

North of the river lies the ExCel Centre where a host of sporting events will take place including fencing, wrestling, table tennis, boxing, judo, taekwondo and weightlifting.

The Olympic Park is then a short journey away.

"I think that this will now become one of the great sights of London," said Mayor Boris Johnson. "It will be something that people want to come and see, take their children up and it's the most incredible way of viewing the city."   Continued...

London Mayor Boris Johnson rides the Airline cable car that links North Greenwich Penninsula and the Albert Docks in east London on June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Pool/Stefan Rousseau