Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Emirates Cable Car East London Line

Not A London Cable Car Mockup

Not A London Cable Car Mockup (courtesy the Ronald Grant Archive)
Today has seen the announcement that the London Cable Car has finally found its sponsor – Emirates Airline. Emirates will contribute £36m to the project (more on this figure later), and in return will receive branding rights, naming rights and joint logo rights. [Indeed JB now owes this author a crisp fiver, for betting that it would be the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company instead]

A London Cable Car Mockup
What this means in reality for the Cable Car (which it appears will now likely be known as the Emirates Air Line) can be seen in the flythrough video above.
It would be easy to focus solely within this post on this announcement itself, but in truth there are many questions to be asked about the Cable Car of which the sponsorship is only one.
Throughout Britain, athletes are getting ready for next year’s Olympics. As one Olympic coach said, “Everyday they tell me about their breakfast then work so hard they feel the need to show me their breakfast”. Competition is tough and to meet the challenge athletes compete in two ways. First they compete against themselves, pushing onwards for a personal best performance and second they calibrate this performance against that of their rivals. In sport, both athletic and tran, what gets measured gets managed. It is described as benchmarking.
We have written on a number of occasions about the proposed cable car in London before and in July our chum IanVisits reported in his blog on a design exhibition at the Building Centre.
With our ever child-like curiosity for new toys, we have pestered various press officers for more details of this project but somehow never managed to make a lot of progress. We asked a simple question – because the cable car uses proprietary technology which system, now in operation, was it like? E-mails went unanswered; questions of client confidentiality and/or organisational communication’s silos in the subcontractor chain were inferred. We were obliged to content our souls with patience. But recently a scintilla, if not a scintilla and a half, of doubt has crossed our mind were some of the aforesaid media interface personnel treating us to a master class of Yorkshire cricket’s famous attritive batting techniques?
There is a story of a young cricketer from Derbyshire who crossed the county boundary to play for team in Sheffield. A keen batsman with a good eye for the ball, he was asked to open the batting with his team captain at the other end. He started crisply swiping the first ball over the boundary for six and then the next for four. He then proceeded to treat the next three balls in the same manner before stealing a single from the final ball. Whilst the fielding side were changing over, he joined his captain tamping divots in the wicket expecting a brief word or two of encouragement. To his surprise, the captain glared at him. “What’s tha’ doin’?” he muttered, “Tha’s not out ‘ere to score runs, tha’s supposed to make their bowlers tired.”
So it is cap doffing time to our chum, the intrepid Tom Edwards of Auntie, for taking out the middle and leg pylons with his story on the cable car which broke the news that the cost of the project has now risen to £60 million, just three days after the TfL Board meeting.
I’ve learnt the cost of the mayor’s flagship cable car project has gone up – again.
Initially, Transport for London (TfL) estimated the cost at £25m and said it would use only private finance to pay for it.
Then the estimate increased to £45m, with TfL admitting it would use its own budget.
Now, we find out that figure did not take into account “technical and legal advice, project management and assurance, land acquisition and procurement costs”.
TfL says the total cost will now be £60m and it is actually paying for it out of the rail budget.
So far, so confusing.
This is what TfL sent to me: “TfL is forecasting to spend approximately £60m on the build cost for the cable car.
“This includes the £45.1m for Mace [the construction company] build, £9.3m for other build costs.
“In addition an allowance of £5.2m has been set aside as, with any project of this scope and scale, funding for a contingency (set at 15% of the contract value) is required to cover unforeseen costs, although this may not be used.
“TfL is seeking to recoup the build cost through a combination of sources including a commercial sponsorship, third party funding (via an application to the European Regional Development Fund) and fare revenue.”
TfL is in discussions with a potential sponsor and hopes to make an announcement soon.
Once finished, the cable cars will run 50m (164ft) above the Thames, carrying up to 2,500 people an hour between two Olympic venues: the O2 arena in North Greenwich and the Excel exhibition centre at the Royal Victoria Dock.
courtesy of London Reconnections

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