Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Ferries of London: the secret Greenwich Ferry

I thought I'd completed my summer project of visiting all the London Ferries and all the London Stones when someone tipped me off about the secret Greenwich ferry.

This one connects North Greenwich, home of the O2 dome (above) with Trinity Buoy Wharf, which I've previously blogged about as being wonderfully full of character.

Luckily soon after this discovery I had a meeting near London Bridge that finished in the early afternoon so I headed on the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich to check it out.

And there it was, as rumoured. It goes from a pier used by Thames Clipper but its not identified on their route map:
It's run by Predator Charters Maritime Services and there's no mention of it on their web site, just a cryptic comment about vessel "Predator II under contract to Thames Clippers as crew transfer vessel".

And that's apparently why its running as a ferry but not publicised: for this vessel's primary purpose is to provide Thames Clipper staff with transport. On the north side of the Thames, at Trinity Wharf, there are offices (including the head office, Clipper House) support facilities and Thames Clipper boats are moored while the south side, called North Greenwhich, is where they dock to zip up and down river. So the staff need to be able to go between the two.

But members of the public can use it too if there is room. There is some information about this service if you hunt around, such as on the Trinity Buoy Wharf "Visit us" page that gives the following:

The service is £2 each way and operates Monday to Friday from 5am - 7pm (does not operate between 11am and 11.30am). Please call them upon arrival to either pier.

More hunting led to this "proposed timetable" but to be honest its not actually that helpful as its an ad-hoc service. It's better to ring the phone number they give or ask the Thames Clipper staff at the pier to do so (which is what I did).

Having paid the princely sum of £ 2, there was the familiar views of the O2 on the way across:

Off we went to Trinity Buoy Wharf:

Then I spent a happy half an hour or so exploring Trinity Buoy Wharf (again) which will post about next before heading back to central London, having one last look at the view across to the O2 and the Thames Clippers zipping back and forth:

But it left a nagging thought: maybe there are more secret ferries in London - but if they are secret how can I find out about them?

Also, there's ongoing discussions about introducing more ferries across the Thames in the future such as between:

  • North Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs
  • Royal Docks and Charlton Riverside

So you never know, there might be more Ferries of London posts in the future.

Until then:

  • All the London Ferries.... tick 
  • All the London Stones... tick.


Bursledon Blogger said...

Great series of posts - I haven't really spent any time on the Thames and estuary must make some time to explore

JP said...

Thanks BB! There's so much in London, the Thames and its Estuary to explore.

Maybe potential for a series of ferries of the Solent?

Anonymous said...

I always knew you were secretly undercover!