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04.10.2011

PLA Team in Thames Challenge

Blackwall passes under Putney Bridge at dawn
 Blackwall passes under Putney Bridge at dawn
(click on image to enlarge)

A Port of London Authority (PLA) team has been tackling a River Thames challenge:  rowing 'Blackwall', an 18 tonne barge, downriver from Teddington on a single tide.  The team started at 4.15am on Thursday 29th September and made it to the O2 Arena in just over 6 hours.  That's a total of 25 miles.  The team was around half a mile short of a record set some 20 years ago.

Unpowered barges like the one rowed by the PLA team were a familiar sight for millions of Londoners in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The skills of 'driving' the barges are still learnt on the Thames and the barges are raced every summer in the annual Transport On Water Barge Race.