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Web Exclusive | October 2014

10 Fun Facts About The London Eye

The London Eye on the South Bank of the River Thames in London has been through a series of name changes and while it was once the world’s tallest observation wheel, currently its Europes tallest Ferris wheel overtaken by taller wheels at Nanchang and Singapore. Being supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike its competitors, also makes the London Eye ‘the worlds tallest cantilevered observation wheel’. However, there is more to this fabulous piece of engineering and architecture. Here are 10 fun facts about the London Eye:

There are 32 capsules in total, one for each of the London boroughs. And if you thought only Indian were superstitious think again because the capsules here are numbered up to 33, with capsule 13 left out for bad luck.
You can see around 40km from the top – as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day.
The total weight of the wheel and capsules is 2,100 tonnes – or as much as 1,272 London black cabs; each capsule weighs 10 tonnes which is equivalent weight as 1,052,631 pound coins!
The London Eye can carry 800 guests per rotation – equivalent to 11 London red double-decker buses. Each rotation takes approximately 30 minutes, meaning that a capsule travels at a stately 26cm per second, or 0.9km (0.6 miles) per hour – twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting; this slow rate of rotation allows guests to step on and off without the wheel having to stop.
The distance covered by the wheel in one year is approximately 2300 miles, in which one could travel from London to Cairo in Egypt.
Supermodel Kate Moss holds the record for the UK celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations, standing at 25, and Hollywood star Jessica Alba holds the record for an overseas celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations, standing at 31.
It is over 200 times larger than the average bike wheel (and four times wider than the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral). The 80 spokes laid together would stretch for 6km – the distance from Trafalgar Square to Canary Wharf.
The spindle which holds the wheel structure is 23m long – the height of 9 classic London red telephone boxes. The hub and spindle weigh in at 330 tonnes – equivalent to 49 double-decker buses, and 20 times heavier than Big Ben – the bell inside St Stephen’s Tower at the Houses of Parliament.
Some 1,700 tonnes of British steel were used in the construction of the London Eye, which makes it 298 times heavier than all the London Premier League football teams (West Ham, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Fulham and Charlton) combined!
The London Eye was shipped up the River Thames by barge in sections and assembled at the South Bank. It took a week to lift it from a horizontal position to the fully vertical one we all know. The technology employed had previously been used to erect North Sea oil rigs.
From late January 2015, the London Eye will be sponsored by Coca-Cola
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