Pennine Waterways News

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bridgewater Stoppage Delayed

A stoppage on the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal has been delayed and will now take place later than planned.

Vicars Hall Bridge, roughly half way between Astley Green and Bridgewater Marina at Boothstown, is to be replaced and this will involve closing the canal to navigation.

This was originally planned to take place between 31st October and 24th February but this was put back to 5th December to 27th March.

It has now been announced that the stoppage will run from 8.00 am on Monday 9th January 2017 until Friday 30th April.

This is later than the normal stoppage "season" and the delay may affect some people's plans to travel through to Liverpool.

The towpath will be open but with a short diversion.

Barton Swing Aqueduct will be closed between 13th and 27th March for its annual maintenance.

Vicars Hall Bridge, Bridgewater Canal

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Rochdale Re-opens

The re-opened channel near Todmorden. Photo: Canal & River Trust

The Rochdale Canal has re-opened to through navigation this week after being closed by a landslip near Todmorden since the end of last year.

The flooding on Boxing Day 2015, caused when a massive amount of water from the River Calder overtopped into the Rochdale Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation, left behind major clean-up operations and a number of complex engineering projects, including the re-building of Elland Bridge.

The Trust, helped by hundreds of volunteers, has been working hard ever since to clear thick layers of mud and silt from popular walking routes, rebuild damaged canal walls, repair scoured towpaths and remove litter and other debris dumped on paths, lock sides and even in trees.

Some of the most severe damage was around Todmorden where the powerful floodwaters washed away a 15m section of canal bank allowing water to drain out of the canal onto nearby allotments.

Since then contractors have been hard at work filling the void in the bank, repairing the canal walls, relining the bed of the canal and reinstating the towpath. The Trust has also restored the allotments so that they can be enjoyed once more.

The local community played an important role in the repairs with the local allotment group giving up their time over Christmas to put sandbags in place to create a temporary canal bank and reduce water loss.

Also near Todmorden a landslip blocked the canal with earth, trees and debris from adjoining land. With the help of local residents who gave permission for access onto their land, the Trust has been able to clear the canal. Specialist contractors installed steel piling along the edge of the canal to protect the slope whilst the earth and debris was removed.

David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said; "We’re delighted that the canal can be reopened. It’s a really significant moment for boaters and the local community.

"It’s been a long, hard year and the repairs we were left with to get this 200 year old canal back up and running were far from straightforward. Almost overnight we were faced with a number of really challenging and complex engineering projects.

"In so many cases local people have been really helpful - whether by allowing access onto their land or, as in the case of the allotment group at the breach site, rolling their sleeves up and helping us out – and I’m just so pleased that they now have their canal back."
The landslip near Todmorden at the end of 2015. Photo: Canal & River Trust

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bank Newton Locks closed for 2 days

Bank Newton Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will be closed on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th August to enable emergency repairs to be carried out to both head ground paddles at Lock 41 (Top Lock).

The lock flight be re-open in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Lock 21 (Dowley Gap Top Lock) had been closed to navigation today (Monday 22nd Aug) due to a damaged ground paddle but was re-opened to navigation at 3.00 pm.

Lock 41, Bank Newton

Friday, 1 July 2016

Elland Bridge to re-open shortly

Elland Bridge, across the Calder and Hebble Navigation, is set to re-open early in July.

The bridge was badly damaged in the floods earlier in the year and has had to be re-built.

The Canal and River Trust hope that the works will be ready for the navigation to re-open on 4th July.

Re-building of Elland Bridge. Photo: Canal & River Trust

Monday, 20 June 2016

Doncaster Lock closed

A gate has failed at Doncaster Lock, on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, making the lock inoperable.

The Canal and River Trust will issue an update when more information is available.

Update Monday 27th June:
The lock has been repaired and the canal is now open.

Doncaster Lock

Friday, 17 June 2016

Stoppage at Barrowford Locks, L & L

Barrowford Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal have been closed because of a problem at Lock 46.

A void has formed under the floor of the lock chamber, which has affected the concrete supporting the bottom of the gates. This makes the lock unsafe as the gates could suddenly fail.

Lock 46 at Barrowford

The Canal and River Trust have started repairs. The damaged concrete has been removed. Steel reinforcements have been put in place in readiness for the new concrete.

The concrete will need several days to harden before the lock can be filled with water.

It is expected that the lock will be re-opened on Wednesday 22nd June.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Stoppages on Macclesfield and Peak Forest

The Upper Peak Forest Canal has been isolated by two unrelated stoppages at Bollington and Marople.

The Macclesfield Canal is shut at Bollington Aqueduct, where a section has been drained to investigate a serious leak. Water has been escaping through holes on the canal bed outside Clarence Mill, under the embankment and flooding the nearby recreation ground.

The Canal and River Trust intend the fill the holes with hardcore and a layer of puddle clay as a temporary repair which they hope will enable the canal to reopen in a week.

The stoppage and emergency repair are needed to prevent the leak developing into a major breach.

Update:
The leaks have been repaired and the canal is now open.

The holes outside Clarence Mill, Bollington. Photo: Coalboat Alton

In a separate stoppage, Marple Locks have been closed because of a gate failure at Lock 12.

These stoppages will affect boaters intending to navigate the Cheshire Ring.

Update Monday 23rd May:
The repairs to Lock12 have been completed and Marple Locks have re-opened to navigation.

Update Tuesday 24th May:
Inspection of the site at Bollington showed that the problems are worse than expected with more extensive repairs being needed. The canal is expected to remain closed at Bollington for a couple of weeks. The towpath will also be closed.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Calder and Hebble flood havoc


Stranded boat between Elland and Brighouse

Flooding in the Calder Valley has once again caused havoc and disruption. Heavy rain over the Christmas weekend, falling onto the already saturated hills and moors, quickly ran down into the river valley, overflowing into the Rochdale Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation.

On Boxing Day the streets in the middle of Hebden Bridge were waist-deep in water. Several boats on the Rochdale Canal were swept from their moorings, with one left high and dry across the canal.

As the water surged downstream it brought havoc to the Calder & Hebble Navigation between Elland and Brighouse. A number of boats were swept up onto the bank while four others were totally submerged. The towpath and part of the arch of Crowther Bridge, near Cromwell Lock, were washed away.


Crowther Bridge

Two teams from River Canal Rescue have been in the area and have re-floated two of the sunken boats. They were hoping to refloat the other two today before looking at how the stranded boats might be retrieved. They urge boaters affected to raise an insurance claim and to act quickly to mitigate the cost of the claim.


Sunken boat between Elland and Brighouse


One of the stranded boats at Elland

These photographs are from River Canal Rescue. More photographs of the problems between Elland and Brighouse can be seen on River Canal Rescue's Facebook page.
Contact information for River Canal Rescue can be found on their website.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Restricted passage at Lock 19w, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Boaters intending to use the Huddersfield Narrow Canal face yet another problem, this time with restricted passage times at Lock 19w.

A cavity described as a 'sinkhole' has appeared on the lockside of Lock 19w at Friezland in Saddleworth. Presumably this has been caused by water leaking out of the lock chamber eroding the ground at the side of the lock.

The Canal and River Trust's contractors will start work on grouting the cavity next week. The work is expected to take three weeks.

Between Monday 7th September and Friday 26th September boat passage through Lock 19w will be restricted to:
* Before 8.00 am
* Between 1.00 and 2.00 pm
* After 4.30 pm

Boaters would be advised to moor above Lock 21w or below Lock 15w if arriving early and should not attempt to moor in the short, shallow pound below Lock 19w. About 25 minutes should be allowed from above Lock 21w or about 45 minutes from below Lock 15w, depending on crew.


Lock 19w, Royal George Highest Lock at Friezland, Saddleworth.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Problems with locks on Huddersfield Narrow


Boaters navigating the Huddersfield Narrow Canal are facing delays with stoppages arising at two locks on the west side of the canal.

At Lock 26w on the Diggle flight a wooden head gate cill has been damaged by a boat passing over it when the water levels were too low. This is the wooden block on the floor of the canal that abuts the head gate to form a watertight seal. The damage is 'substantial' and the cill cannot be simply fixed. Scaffold access into the lock will be required and, once in place, the repair may take a few days to complete. CRT will issue an update on Tuesday with a timetable for the repair.

Meanwhile at Lock 10w near Millbrook a quoin has failed. This forms a watertight seal at the side of the gate. An attempted repair this morning was unsuccessful. CRT will issue an update on Tuesday with a timetable for the repair.

These problems have arisen just after a safety problem in Standedge Tunnel has been resolved.

Update Wednesday 2nd September:
In addition to the problems above, a cill has failed at Lock 8w near Millbrook. A repair was attempted yesterday but was unsuccessful. It is hoped that the repair can be completed today (2nd September).

This has delayed repairs to the quoin at Lock 10w. It is hoped that repairs to Lock 10w will be completed tomorrow (3rd September).

The repair team will move on to Lock 26w on Friday, when scaffolding is installed. It is hoped to complete the repairs at Lock 26w by Saturday afternoon.

Update Wednesday 2nd September, 3.30 pm:
The repair to Lock 8w is complete and the lock is now open to navigation. Boaters should note that they cannot proceed beyond Grove Road Services (above Lock 8w) as there is still a stoppage at Lock 10w.

Update Thursday 3rd September, 2.30 pm:
The repair to the quoin has now been completed,and the navigation through Lock 10w is now open.

Update Saturday 5th September, 10.00 am:
The repair to Lock 26w is complete and the lock is now open to navigation.

(Please note the restricted times of passage at Lock 19w from 7th September. See details.)

Note concerning cills:
Boaters should be aware that, when closed, a lock gate butts up to a wooden cill (or threshold) that forms a water-tight seal against the gate. These wooden cills are usually slightly higher than the adjacent canal bed. Attempting to enter or leave a lock when water levels are too low can result in the boat's skeg catching the cill and damaging it, or even ripping it out of place.

This will mean a water-tight seal cannot be made, making it difficult (or impossible) to completely empty or fill the lock.

When levels are low, boaters should proceed slowly and be prepared to stop and back off it the boat makes contact with the wooden cill. Forcing the boat over a cill is selfish and could result in other boaters having their holidays spoilt by a stoppage. The best course of action is to send someone to open the next paddle above the cill in question and wait until water levels are high enough to cross a cill without making contact. (Only enough water should be released to increase the water level sufficiently. The paddle should then be closed again to prevent the pound above also becoming too low.)


Lock 26w on the Diggle flight.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Bridgewater Canal Re-opens


The Bridgewater Canal has re-opened to navigation between Castlefield and Waters Meeting.

The canal closed on 31st July to enable the demolition of a dangerous building alongside the canal. Navigation of this stretch resumed from midday on Friday 28th August.

The Bridgewater Canal Company has asked boaters to pass the site slowly, keeping to the offside, and to be vigilant in following any signs or instructions.

The towpath remains closed.


The derelict Excelsior Works on the left of the Bridgewater Canal, near Hulme Hall Bridge.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Standedge Tunnel Safety Alert

Passage through Standedge Tunnel was temporarily suspended after a safety alert this week.

On Wednesday while one of the normal chaperone-assisted passages was taking place, it was noticed that one of Network Rail's timber overhead walkways that cross the tunnel had partially collapsed and that large timbers were suspended dangerously over the water. As a result the Canal and River Trust had to close the tunnel to navigation.

Network Rail sent a maintenance crew to begin removing the dangerous timbers. That work is underway and was expected to be complete by Thursday night.

If all has gone well tunnel passages should be resumed as normal on Friday (28th August).

The original railway tunnels were built alongside the south side of the canal tunnel. The later twin track rail tunnel was built on the north side of the canal, linked at intervals with the original tunnels by means of passages. Some of these cross the canal tunnel on wooden walkways and it is one of these that became unsafe.

It is understood that it was necessary to take the boat back out of the tunnel the way it had come. It was expected that the boat would be allowed through the tunnel as soon as Network Rail had made the walkway safe.

Update Friday 28th August:
The repair has been completed and the tunnel has re-opened to normal operation.


One of the overhead walkways crossing Standedge Tunnel.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Marple Locks restriction


Marple Locks are currently open at restricted times after a boat damaged a lock gate.

From today (8th Aug), passage through Marple locks will only be will be between 8.00 am and 10.00 am and between 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm each day until further notice. Canal and River Trust staff will be available to assist boats through Lock 14, where the tail gate has been damaged by boat impact.

The tail gates of Lock 14 were damaged when they were hit by a boat. The lock flight was closed while an inspection of the damage was carried out. Further assessment is needed and the lock will be operated by CRT staff until repairs can be made.

CRT will issue a further update when it is known how they will proceed.


Lock 14, Peak Forest Canal, Marple

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Emergency closure on Bridgewater Canal

The Bridgewater Canal is to be closed in Manchester between Egerton Street Bridge, Castlefield, and Cornbrook Road Bridge near Pomona Lock.

The canal is to be closed from midday tomorrow (31st July) until further notice.

The stoppage is to enable emergency demolition work next to the canal near Hulme Hall Bridge. The towpath will also be closed.

Part of the Excelsior Works away from the canal collapsed three days ago and it would appear that the whole building, which abuts the towpath, has been declared unsafe and is to be demolished.

This stoppage is on the arm of the Bridgewater Canal between Stretford and Manchester. The rest of the Bridgewater Canal is not affected.

No end date for the closure has been announced yet.

Update Friday 28th August:
From mid-day today (28th Aug) the navigation will be re-opened with a restricted channel. Boater should pass slowly and use the offside of the canal. The towpath remains closed.


The derelict Excelsior Works on the left of the Bridgewater Canal, near Hulme Hall Bridge.