What would happen if you were in the Cable Car sightseeing the views, or maybe even commuting, and it broke down? It’s not exactly the sort of transport system that you can get out and walk to the nearest exit.
As it happens, despite the regular closures for high winds, or tall ships, a mechanical failure should be next to impossible due to the fairly substantial numbers of back-up systems designed into the Cable Car. However, the regulations say that they still have to have an escape plan, and it has to be tested at least once a year. So test them they do.
The annual maintenance closure being an ideal chance — today therefore saw a lot of people in rigging kit climbing along the cables to rescue a couple of trapped dummies who were now stuck in a cable car over the river.
Standing around in the freezing cold taking photos through a long lens means this is not the sort of thing that is going to attract the crowds, although in some countries, cable car owners make a bit of a fuss about their tests and encourage people to turn up and watch.
In the absence of any loudspeakers offering commentary, here are some photos of this morning’s exercise.
The maintenance cage heading to the south side to collect rescue personnel
Heading back out laden with rescue staff — these are high-level workers who do jobs all over London on the outside of tall buildings, and happen to be the rescue team for the cable car
Arriving at the North pylon, with the “stricken” cable car following on behind.
Climbing out to get onto the pylon
I guess this qualifies as a good viewing location. If a bit windy. And scary.
OK, this is how they get back out again — the climb along the cable wires.
Back out to the maintenance car, which seemed to be acting as a useful resting point half way between pylon and cable car.
Rest over, time to carry on climbing over the cable car.
More followed on behind.
All three together on the cable car — and two on the maintenance car behind.
Over the edge to open the doors and go inside.
Inside — and comforting the crash test dummies.
More people doing things on the maintenance car — seemed to be lowering ropes of their own.
A rope is lowered, with a heavy weight attached to keep the rope steady in the wind.
Out goes the first passenger.
Down to a waiting boat
And safe again.
Realistically, the rest was going to be fairly similar, and as it was freezing cold, I headed home.
I would presume that abseiling out of the cable car would be the absolutely last thing they would do if none of the other options existed, and somehow all the backup power supplies and motors all broke down at the same time.
But wouldn’t a passenger have a great story to tell over dinner time.