Pennine Waterways News

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ashton Canal set to re-open Sunday

New gates in place at Lock 10, Ashton Canal

The Ashton Canal is to re-open on Sunday 27th July following a stoppage of over three weeks after a boat seriously damaged a gate at Lock 10 (Vinegar Lock).

New gates had to be made at Stanley Ferry and these have now been fitted. They are 6 metres high as Lock 10 is the deepest narrow lock in the country, with a rise of 4.22 metres (13ft 10in). New wooden cills have been fitted to make the bottom of the gates water-tight.

Canal and River Trust staff have been fitting the balance beams and paddle gear. (The hydraulic paddle gear, considered inappropriate by some, is being re-fitted.)

Fenders will then be fitted to the gates and an engineering inspection carried out. If that goes well, work to dismantle the work site will take place on Saturday. This will involve removing safety scaffolding from the lock and the heavy duty security fencing that has been erected around the lock.

The canal should then be re-opened to navigation on Sunday morning (27th July).

It is not clear how the damage occurred as the impact appeared to have been at normal water level. However, when canal staff arrived at the scene there was a boat trapped in the lock and the pound below the lock was very low, so one theory being suggested is that the boater may have been attempting to flush the boat from the lock, with the water causing the gate to close just as the boat surged forward.

It is understood that the gates were around 20 years old and should have been good for a few more years. However, the damage was such that repairs could not be carried out in situ, so with the expense involved in removing and refitting the gates, it was more economical to replace them now rather than remove them for repair and then replace them with new gates in a few years time.

The Ashton Canal is part of the popular Cheshire Ring and also the South Pennine Ring , so the stoppage has meant that many hirers and others planning to navigate these rings have had to change their plans.

Lock 10, showing portable gantry still in place and safety scaffolding.

Below Lock 10, with the work boats used to transport the gates and equipment.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Rochdale Canal paddle problem

A paddle failure on the bottom gates of Lock 64 (Kays Lane Lock, Chadderton) on the Rochdale Canal means that the canal is currently closed at this location to facilitate the repair works needed.

The Canal and River Trust is mobilising work teams to the site and it is hoped the canal will be re-opened quickly.

Update Thursday 10th May:
Assisted passage through Lock 64 is available by phoning the Canal and River Trust (01782 785703) when you are approaching the lock.

Update Friday 11th May:
The failed paddle has now been made water-tight and the lock has re-opened to unrestricted navigation but with only one bottom gate paddle working.

Lock 64, Rochdale Canal

Monday, 7 July 2014

Lock damage shuts Ashton Canal

Damage to a gate at Lock 10 on the Ashton Canal has closed the canal between Lock 1 and Lock 18.

The damage to the lower gate, which appears to have been caused by a boater, is so severe that an on-the-spot repair cannot be carried out. The gate will have to be removed to a workshop. Arrangements are being made for the gate removal but access to the lock is difficult.

The Canal and River Trust do not know how long the repair will take but are advising that the canal could be closed here for several weeks.

Lock 10 (Vinegar Lock) is the deepest narrow lock on the canal system, with a rise of 13' 10". This stoppage affects boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring and the South Pennine Ring.

Update Monday 14th May:
The Canal and River Trust expects to take delivery of the new gates needed for Lock 10 next Saturday, 19th July. Fitting the gates is expected to take a week, including fitting new wooden cills. They are hoping to re-open the canal over the weekend of 26th/27th July.

Anyone waiting to navigate the canal as soon as it re-opens is asked to contact Ellie or Milly at the Red Bull office on 0303 0404040 so that the volume of traffic will be known and the re-opening can go smoothly.

Photo: Canal and River Trust