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September 05 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

London Duck Tours to cease

London Duck Tours is to run its last services on 17 September after being forced to close by Thames Water.

The highlight of tourist road-river sightseeing service, using Second World War amphibious DUKWs in eye-catching yellow, is the ‘splashdown’ into the Thames by the MI6 building, followed by a river cruise.

The closure is due to Thames Water exercising its statutory rights of compulsory purchase of the launch pad at Vauxhall, to make way for the construction of the £5bn Thames Tideway Tunnel for sewage.

London Duck Tours MD John Bigos, 64, says: “It will be a very sad day for the company, which was going from strength to strength, but it was vital not to delay construction of this much needed infrastructure project.”

“Tourists worldwide and Londoners will surely miss our iconic bright yellow DUKWs travelling around town.

“They have become a landmark in their own right.  I would like to thank our staff many of whom have been with us from the start and the 1.8m passengers that have travelled on a London Duck Tour.”

It is unclear what the future holds for the firm, which employs 60 people and operates nine 30-seater DUKWs. Mr Bigos says: “Watch this space and we will update you on events in January 2018.”

The concept of an amphibious sightseeing tour was transported to the UK from the United States in 2000.

Current owner, John Bigos, was looking for a new challenge and bought the company in 2002.  Together with a small team, he created London Duck Tours, a family-owned company that has seen ever-increasing growth.

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