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02.04.2004

Concorde: arrival on the Thames

The last decommissioned Concorde from Heathrow is due to be loaded into a heavy lift vessel on the Thames at Isleworth during Sunday 4 April. The loading operation is the first stage of Concorde’s journey down the river through central London and out to the sea which will take place later in April. The passage down the Thames will take several days because of the dual constraints of tidal conditions and bridge heights.

Concorde G-BOAA is planned to be loaded into the new specialist heavy lift vessel ‘Terra Marique’ at the PLA’s slipway near the London Apprentice public house, Church Street, Isleworth. The loading operation is currently expected to take place at about 9am on 4 April.

The loading of the ‘Terra Marique’ has required detailed planning. For example, part of the riverbed at Isleworth will be shaped to accommodate the vessel. This process will involve the careful removal of part of the riverbed and its safe storage nearby. After the vessel’s departure the area will be reinstated to its original condition. The top layer of the bed will be removed and stored separately from the remainder, so that it can be replaced back on top with minimal disturbance to the invertebrate and other wildlife which inhabits it.

Steve Cuthbert, chief executive of the Port of London Authority said:

“It is great that the Thames will be used to move this famous aircraft. It means that the problems that would be caused if Concorde was moved by road to Scotland will be minimised. The journey by water will eliminate days of traffic snarl ups, delays and congestion on the roads.

“It is a further example of how the Thames helps the wider environment in London. River borne trade already keeps an estimated 400,000 lorry journeys off the roads of London each year. This abnormal load movement is another example of how the Thames can be used for sustainable transport.”  

For further information contact Martin Garside, Port of London Authority (tel: 020 7743 7915). Email: pressoffice@pla.co.uk

Note to editors:

  1. The exact timings and dates for the movement of Concorde down the Thames are still to be finalised. When these are available they will published at www.portoflondon.co.uk
  2. The movement of Concorde is a complex task. While all times are correct at time of publication, they may change at short notice. It should be noted that the transportation of Concorde along Park Road, Isleworth is planned to commence at first light 
  3. Concorde G-BOAA is destined for the Museum of Flight near Edinburgh. For information about the journey after she leaves the Thames contact Anne McMunn at Porter Novelli in Edinburgh (tel: 0131 470 3400)
  4. The ‘Terra Marique’ is operated by Robert Wynn & Sons Ltd. For further information see www.robertwynnandsons.co.uk 
  5. The Port of London Authority (PLA) is the port authority for 150 km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from Teddington to the sea. It provides navigational, pilotage and other services for ships using the Port of London. London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.