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Woolwich Ferry

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Woolwich Ferry
Location Map
Woolwich Ferry.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (13)
From  : North Woolwich
To  : Woolwich
Location
TQ432795
County
Kent
Highway Authority
Transport for London
Opening Date
1889
Current Operator
Serco on behalf of Transport for London
Toll
Free
On road(s)
A117, A2204


The Woolwich Ferry, from Woolwich to North Woolwich, is the eastern Crossing linking London's North and South Circular roads. It was first operated in 1889 by the London County Council.

Classified in 1923 as the A117, it was operated by the LCC until 1965 when control was transferred to the Greater London Council. After the abolition of the GLC, the operation was transferred to Greenwich Council who ran it until the end of September 2008. Today it is operated by Serco on behalf of Transport for London.

The crossing is completely free and operated by a fleet of three ferries, though a maximum of only two are in service at any one time. At quiet times and weekends, the service is reduced to one boat. The crossing takes about five minutes in normal conditions, but waiting times can be considerably in excess of this, especially if the Blackwall Tunnel or Dartford Crossing are closed. In those circumstances, waiting times of over two hours are not uncommon. The three present boats, named "John Burns", "James Newman" and "Ernest Bevin" were built in Dundee and began service in 1963 with the new curved piers completed two years later.

There are vehicle waiting areas at each end, initially on the piers out into the river, and for longer queues vehicles on the south shore are diverted into a queuing area on the west side of the approach pier. On the north shore the longer approach is divided into queuing lanes, with local traffic on a separate carriageway alongside. At times of disruption there is still a likelihood of queuing vehicles blocking back and disrupting local traffic.

Major flood protection was provided at each terminal in the 1980s, with large sliding floodgates which can be extended across the approach road when exceptional tides are expected, typically at times when the Thames Barrier (just upstream) has to be closed as well. The ferry service has to be suspended at such times.

Substantial investment was made in 2014-5 in the linkspans at each end, which had their machinery replaced and uprated.

An unusual but longstanding tradition is a summer day cruise on the Thames for disabled children; the vessel is dressed overall with flags in the maritime way, and the ambulances with the children are driven directly onto the car deck, where various attractions are also placed.

If the Thames Gateway Crossing is built or the proposed Gallions Reach-Thamesmead ferry is instituted then the Woolwich Ferry may be withdrawn, although this would require an act of parliament.

Links



Woolwich Ferry
JunctionsWoolwich Ferry Roundabout
RoadsA117 • A2204
Related Pictures
View gallery (13)
A London View - Geograph - 303999.jpgA117 - North Circular Road, just north of the Woolwich Ferry - Coppermine - 4725.jpgA117 North Circular Road - Coppermine - 4726.jpgA117 North Circular Road - Coppermine - 4727.jpgA117 North Circular Road - Coppermine - 4728.jpg
Crossings of the River Thames
A433 Road Bridge • A429 Road Bridge • Three Bridges • A419 Road Bridge • Halfpenny Bridge • St Johns Bridge • Radcot Bridge • Newbridge • Swinford Bridge • A34 Road Bridge • Osney Bridge • Folly Bridge • Donnington Bridge • Isis Bridge • Abingdon Bridge • Winterbrook Bridge • Goring & Streatley Bridge • Whitchurch Bridge • Caversham Bridge • Reading Bridge • Sonning Bridge • Henley Bridge • Longridge Bridge • Cookham Bridge • Maidenhead Bridge • New Thames Bridge • Queen Elizabeth Bridge • Windsor Bridge • Victoria Bridge • Albert Bridge • Runnymede • Staines Bridge • Chertsey Bridge • Walton Bridge • Hampton Court Bridge • Kingston Bridge • Richmond Bridge • Twickenham Bridge • Kew Bridge • Chiswick Bridge • Hammersmith Bridge • Putney Bridge • Wandsworth Bridge • Battersea Bridge • Albert Bridge • Chelsea Bridge • Vauxhall Bridge • Lambeth Bridge • Westminster Bridge • Waterloo Bridge • Blackfriars Bridge • Southwark Bridge • London Bridge • Tower Bridge • Rotherhithe Tunnel • Blackwall Tunnels • Silvertown Tunnel • Woolwich Ferry • Thames Gateway Crossing • Belvedere Bridge • Dartford Crossing (Dartford TunnelQEII BridgeNew Dartford Bridge) • Gravesend - Tilbury Ferry • Lower Thames Crossing