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River Thames Monorail

location: River Thames, London

year: 1995

client: The Peabody Trust

design: Richard Horden Associates

This is a speculative idea for a light, fast monorail making use of the Thames’ 7 metre tidal range that leaves the river fringes largely unusable. It is seen as a more environmentally friendly solution than river buses which need powerful diesel engines to overcome strong currents. Initially an 8 km section could link Docklands to Westminster, and then be extended out to City Airport and Heathrow. The rail would be above high tide level and run beneath the southern arches of the central London bridges. Marine pile construction is relatively cheap and uncomplicated and the route would avoid complex City and Westminster land ownerships by being located with the Port of London Authority’s domain.