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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 10:31 GMT


Pods take turn on Millennium Wheel

The first pod took four hours to fit

The first two glass viewing capsules have been fixed to the 450ft-high Millennium Wheel in London.

The first 'pod' took four hours to instal on Thursday evening. The wheel was then partially turned to allow the next capsule to be attached.

The BBC's Tim Samuels reports: "It's hoped four will be in place by the end of the day"
The 32 air-conditioned capsules, which each hold 25 people, will provide passengers on the world's largest wheel with a bird's eye view of London.

They are being put in place on a special platform on the Thames, next to the embankment site of the wheel, which towers over Big Ben nearby.

Sponsor British Airways will be hoping the operation is completed without any further hitches, so the wheel is open for business by the New Year deadline.

[ image: The pods were halted by a high tide]
The pods were halted by a high tide
Raising the wheel was fraught with problems. First the raising of the wheel was delayed when a cable snapped, then protesters scaled the structure and spent the night on it.

There was even a hold-up with transporting the pods when their journey up-river was halted by a particularly high tide that prevented them passing under bridges.

Fitting of the pods is expected to take around a week. A spokesman said progress may depend on weather conditions.

Passengers will be able to get on and off the wheel without it stopping, as it will rotate very slowly. A full trip will take 30 minutes.

It will have the capacity to carry 15,000 visitors a day.

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