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These Special 1960s Bike Buses Were Used To Transport Cyclists Across The Thames




These days, cyclists have plenty of ways to get their trusty metal steeds from one side of the Thames to the other — bike lanes on bridges, for one. But there's one cycle-friendly river crossing that's no longer in use — and we really wish we'd seen it when it was.

The Dartford Tunnel Cycle Service was a special bus service used for just a couple of years in the 1960s, to get cyclists and their bikes across the river at the Dartford Crossing, the most easterly Thames crossing.

When the Dartford Tunnel opened in November 1963, joining Kent to Essex via a road beneath the river, traffic volumes were significantly lower than they are today. But it was still thought that the subaquatic journey was too dangerous to be done on a pushbike. At the time, there was only one tunnel — the second was added in 1980, and the neighbouring bridge didn't open until 1991 — so initially, traffic ran in both directions in a single shaft.

Two years before the tunnel was due to open, London Transport, responsible for the crossing at the time, commissioned five specially designed double decker buses, to convey cyclists and their bikes from one side to the other. Handily, these were made just down the road, at the Ford Dagenham plant.


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