The Anonymous Widower

Through The Blackwall Tunnel In A 108 Bus

Around lunchtime today, I took a 108 bus from North Greenwich station on the Jubilee Line to Bow Church station on the DLR. It’s rather a roundabout way to get home from Bow Church station, so I walked to Bow Road station to get a train to Moorgate for a bus home.

I took these pictures of the journey.

Note.

  1. The first picture shows the Radisson Red hotel on Tunnel Avenue.
  2. The Northbound bus travelled through the old tunnel, which was built in 1897.
  3. It looks in good condition for its age in my pictures.
  4. Even at lunchtime on Christmas Eve, there are queues of traffic waiting to go through the tunnel from both directions.
  5. The dog in the last picture is better and less-threatening street art, than you get in some parts of the UK

Taking good pictures from inside a dirty single-deck bus is not the easiest task.

This paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the Blackwall Tunnel, gives a snapshot of the tunnel’s development.

The tunnel was originally opened as a single bore in 1897 by the Prince of Wales, as a major transport project to improve commerce and trade in London’s East End, and supported a mix of foot, cycle, horse-drawn and vehicular traffic. By the 1930s, capacity was becoming inadequate, and consequently a second bore opened in 1967, handling southbound traffic while the earlier 19th century tunnel handles northbound.

Note.

  1. Both tunnels are not open to pedestrians, cyclists or non-motorised traffic.
  2. There is a four metre height limit on the Northbound tunnel, which also has sharp bends.
  3. The Southbound tunnel is straight and has a height limit of 4.72 metres.
  4. London’s iconic Routemaster and New Routemaster buses are 4.38 and 4.39 metres high respectively.
  5. The tunnel will be tolled, when the Silvertown Tunnel opens in a few years time.
  6. It looks like both Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels will have the same charge as the Dartford Crossing, which is currently two pounds if you pre-pay for a car.

The pictures and words give clues to why the Mayor has decided to build the Silvertown Tunnel.

It is very rare to get through the tunnel without being delayed in a queue of traffic.

Double deck buses can’t go through the Northbound Tunnel.

As a non-driver, who doesn’t need to use the Blackwall Tunnel, I don’t listen to traffic reports, but perhaps once a week whilst waiting for the news on Radio 5, I hear of problems at the tunnel. Sometimes, these are caused by over-height or over-long vehicles, which have got stuck in the Northbound tunnel.

Incidentally, my earliest memory of the tunnel is probably from about 1953, when my family was stuck in the tunnel for several hours in my father’s Y-type MG.

, My father’s car had the registration BNH 368.

I doubt I’ve driven through the tunnel this century, as I have rarely driven to South and South-East London since the 1970s, as I’ve generally taken the train across London. I can remember one trip in about 2008 though, when I took the Woolwich Ferry for the Southbound crossing.

As I was living near the top of the M11 in Suffolk, I may have gone home via the Blackwall Tunnel.

 

December 24, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I’m also a non driver and have only been through the Blackwall Tunnel on a handful occasions. Using the 108 bus has been on my wish list for ages. I will do so in the new year. Best wishes for 2023 and thank you for your always interesting blog posts. David

    Comment by Davud Richards | December 25, 2022 | Reply

    • If you do plan your way beforehand. I suspect that North Greenwich, Bow Church and Stratford will all be good places to join or leave the route.

      Comment by AnonW | December 25, 2022 | Reply


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