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Woolwich Ferry

The Woolwich Ferry is a service across the River Thames linking Woolwich in the London Borough of Greenwich with North Woolwich in the London Borough of Newham. It also links two ends of the inner London orbital routes: the North Circular and the South Circular.

A ferry service had operated across the river at Woolwich since at least the 14th century. The free ferry service was instigated by Sir Joseph Bazalgette using powers granted in the Metropolitan Board of Works (Various Powers) Act 1885, and was officially opened on 23 March 1889.

The current three vessels (built in Dundee in 1963 to replace the previous four paddle steamers used since 1923) were each named after prominent local politicians: John Burns, Ernest Bevin and James Newman.

The ferries can carry lorries and other road traffic across the river, plus large numbers of foot passengers (licenced capacity: 500 passengers and 200 tonnes of vehicles). At peak periods, two ferries criss-cross the river at approximately 10 minute intervals.

If the ferry service is not operating, pedestians can use the nearby Woolwich foot tunnel; for vehicles, the nearest alternatives are the Blackwall Tunnel about two miles upstream to the west, or the Dartford Crossing some ten miles downstream to the east.