Barking Thames Clippers extension imminent – as Thamesmead looks on

A new riverboat pier for Thames Clipper services has been installed to serve thousands of forthcoming homes in Barking.

The pier is visible from just over the river in north Thamesmead, where residents can also see the nearby London Overground taking shape.

Journey times by Thames Clippers (or Uberboat is you must) from Barking will be nine minutes to Woolwich, 40 to Canary Wharf and 55 minutes to London Bridge. Timetables can be viewed here.

Forthcoming route map


Barking pier will see services in the peak periods during the morning and throughout the evening.

That does allow new residents to head home after an event at, say, Woolwich Works. In time that’s a hell of a potential customer base.

Looking towards Woolwich pier

The last boat from Woolwich to Barking will be 11:56pm.

Barking & Dagenham council have contributed £600,000 to the extension.

Thamesmead misses out again

Thamesmead residents will be looking on with envy once more as two new more forms of transport arrive hundreds of metres away -albeit across the Thames – after decades of promises for transport improvements havn’t been heeded.

Whether it be the 1960s Jubilee Line extension proposal, a new railway station between Abbey Wood and Plumstead proposed around the same time or the DLR which is still apparently nowhere close to being approved, the town has seen little of what was promised to 60,000 residents over the decades, with the Treasury again hostile to apparently any form of infrastructure investment in London.

Click to enlarge. Station plans scrapped – as was the road tunnel across the river

Granted, the planned railway station was nowhere near as useful given it wasn’t actually in Thamesmead, yet is indicative of schemes that have been and gone.

The London Overground extension from Barking to Barking Riverside also all but rules out extension to Thamesmead over the river given the new elevated station. Authorities never seemed that keen anyway.

Even the poor old Greenwich Waterfront Transit which aimed to link Thamesmead to Abbey Wood and north Greenwich on segregated roads was watered down in 2009 to little more than a rebranded 472 bus with no service level enhancements. It was then cancelled within weeks of Boris Johnson becoming Mayor of London.


Numerous housing developments have been built or approved since then along what was to be the GWT’s route, including thousands of homes approved across Thamesmead in recent years which has not seen any income allocated to a new transit bus.

That includes 1,750 homes at West Thamesmead Gateway and 333 nearby beside the old Royal Arsenal canal.

1,750 homes have been approved with work now starting

Time and again Greenwich Council have failed to allocate incoming monies from developers towards either a new transit route nor extensive pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

You can see a history of the ill-fated Greenwich Waterfront Transit here.

Click to enlarge. GWT map from early 2000s before cancellation

Barking over the river has had a number transit bus routes implemented.

Abbey Wood station will see Crossrail services soon, yet Abbey Wood has had high frequency and fast rail links to central London for decades which didn’t help much of Thamesmead.

333 homes approved last year in Thamesmead. Work to start May 2022

Eight trains per hour to central London have existed from Abbey Wood for many years (and that was off peak levels) and for decades it was as quick as 22 minutes to London Bridge and 25 to the City.

The issue with certain areas of Thamesmead was reaching Abbey Wood station with dual carriageways, meandering roads and an elevated sewer all hampering access.

None of that changes with Crossrail.

South Thamesmead isn’t hindered to such as extent, and so residents at thousands of homes there will be able to reach the Elizabeth Line relatively easily.

New homes in south Thamesmead

Peabody are finally getting round to finishing over 500 homes, and have just announced consultation into 329 more.

Bexley Council plans near abbey Wood station

Abbey Wood towers are nearing completion, and Bexley Council have plans to build too.

Abbey Wood tower blocks now rising

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

5 thoughts on “Barking Thames Clippers extension imminent – as Thamesmead looks on

  • Surely Thamesmead must be the largest district in London to not have a direct rail link?

    New Addington was in a similar position and they eventually got the Croydon Tram.

    Thamesmead may have the 472 and the 177 bus routes that are useful links (sadly the 180 is going to be chopped so no more Lewisham link) but in the 80s and 90s the lack of rail link to Central London was offset by the bus routes 53X & 177E both later merged into the X53, between the lack of Bakerloo extension and lack of rail link to Thamesmead maybe it’s time to resurrect the X53, TfL has got to realise that not everyone can’t or won’t use the train and the X53 would serve the centre of Thamesmead directly from Central London

  • Totally agree with you N bring back the X53 bus route on a daily basis between Oxford Circus and Thamesmead via route 53 operating about every 8 minutes daytimes and every 12 minutes evening and Sundays

    You are so right N not every one is able to use the train or feels safe using the train or walking to and from the station especially at night and when it is dark. We need to get public transport and in particular bus services nearer to people’s homes.

  • Thank you CDT.

    If they aren’t extending the Barking Overground line or the DLR to Thamesmead any time soon then a resurrected X53 is the only way forward, not everyone will head to Abbey Wood for CrossRail or SE, Woolwich for SE & DLR or North Greenwich for the Jubilee line.

    TfL has expressed interest in creating new express routes, so they should bring back the X53.

    It seems to me TfL have made too many bad bus decisions in SE London lately, the big one is the 180 which cuts Thamesmead off from Lewisham and reduces bus by half to Greenwich, not good at all.

  • Greenwich Council should also be supporting better bus routes and routes like the X53 as part of the campaign to make it safer for women in Greenwich.. A lot of people find it very difficult to use trains, elevators and even lifts.

    With out rail, underground or DLR stations coming to Thamesmead them better bus routes and routes like the X53 are the only answer.

  • South East London and the Boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich ignored yet again when it comes to improving Public transport services including the river bus services.

    Thamesmead and other large housing developments around the two boroughs need public transport improvements in particular bus services as it is very true not everyone can or feel safe using trains or the underground.. So reintroducing additional express bus services like X53 in to Central London is the answer.


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