Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Crossing the Thames, The Woolwich Ferry and Dartford Tunnel.

These are a couple of short videos taken whilst driving, The first being taken in November 2013 showing a crossing on the Woolwich Ferry.

The Woolwich Ferry is a vehicle ferry service in East London connecting the north and south circular inner relief roads. It is also available to foot passengers who must depart after each crossing and is currently a free service. There has been a crossing in Woolwich since the 14th century and the ferry service started on the 23rd March 1889 at it's current location. The fleet consists of 3 ferries, they are named after prominent politicians, John Burns a Liberal MP from 1892 to 1918, Ernest Bevin a Labour Minister who served as a MP from 1940 to 1951, and James Newman who served as the Mayor of Woolwich from 1923 to 1925. They were all involved in London politics.

The day was overcast and raining and the recording was done using a Samsung Galaxy Tablet crossing from the southern pier at Woolwich, over the Thames to the northern pier at North Woolwich. It can be seen here and on YouTube.

Video 2 was taken in October 2013 using the Dartford Tunnel. The crossing has changed since then as the toll booths were removed in late 2014 early 2015, it was hoped that by changing the toll charging system it would help to reduce congestion, sadly as a truck driver that users it regularly I have yet to see evidence of the reduction.

The video shows me driving through the eastern tunnel which was the 2nd to open. Completed in 1980 the tunnel helped relieve the congestion of the western tunnel as it doubled the capacity of the crossing. The western tunnel had opened as a single file traffic crossing in November 1963, but now with 2 tunnels the western bore handled north bound traffic and the eastern south bound. By the time of both tunnels operating they were handling 65,000 vehicles a day and in 1986 the tunnels had linked up with the now completed M25 Motorway so were at a peak capacity of approx. 80,000 vehicles a day. A 3rd crossing the Queen Elizabeth II bridge was completed in 1991 and the eastern tunnel started to handle northbound traffic as well as the eastern tunnel, with southbound vehicles now crossing via the bridge. During high winds and incidents on the bridge the eastern tunnel is used by southbound traffic as an alternative to the bridge.

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