Pennine Waterways News

Friday, 27 February 2009

Boats To Go Through Standedge Under Own Power!

Standedge Tunnel re-opens for through boat passages on 30th March 2009, under the new system of boats going through under their own power.

Passages through the tunnel will take place on three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Three boats in each direction will be allowed into the tunnel on each of these days, at 45 minute intervals so that boaters will not be affected by the diesel fumes of other boats.

On board each boat will be a British Waterways "chaperone", a qualified tunnel pilot who will be there to supervise the passage and to offer advice. The boater may steer the boat the whole way if preferred, but the pilot would be available to steer the boat through tricky sections if the boater wished.

Boaters wishing to use the tunnel should book at least 24 hours in advance on 0113 281 6860 (Monday to Friday, 8.30 am - 4.30 pm). There are a limited number of passages available so it is advisable to book a slot as far in advance as possible. However, boaters should be aware that BW will charge £50 if a boater doesn't show up (unless they have phoned to cancel 48 hours or more in advance).

Deep inside Standedge Tunnel.

Pets will now be allowed to remain on board but they must be restrained (i.e. caged or tied) so that there is no possibility of them becoming alarmed and causing a distraction or safety problem.

Before entering the tunnel, boaters will be issued with hard hat and life jacket to be worn at all times in the tunnel by anyone outside on the boat. Each boat will also be issued with additional lighting for navigation.

Only boats that are within the specified craft dimensions (basically not more than 70 ft length, 6'10" beam, 3' 3" draught - a diagram showing the exact dimensions can be seen here) will be allowed into the tunnel. Fibreglass boats and petrol engined boats will not be permitted through the tunnel.

A new and improved communications system, which will allow the BW "chaperones" to stay in constant contact with the office base, has not yet been installed. Until this is in place, boats will pause at each adit (cross-passage through to the old railway tunnel) so that the BW pilot can call the base via the phone system, letting the tunnel controller knows where each boat is. A back-up van will be stationed near the middle of the tunnel in order to be able to respond to any emergency.

Boaters will now be able to work their own way up the locks at Marsden and Diggle. Lock 32e below Marsden will be unlocked at 8.30 am, with the last entry to the locks being at 3.30 pm. Boaters approaching from the east will make their own way up the locks on the day before they are booked to go through the tunnel.

Lock 24w of the Diggle Locks will be unlocked at 8.30 am and boats should make their way up on the day of their tunnel passage, to arrive at Diggle portal by 11.30 am.

Boats heading westwards will stop overnight at Marsden, although the first boat will have the opportunity of continuing down the Marsden locks, as long as they are through Lock 32e before 4.30 pm.

Boats will be allowed (as before) to come up the Marsden flight, without passing through the tunnel, to stay at Marsden for a couple of days before going back down. Booking is not needed, although BW says it would be helpful if boaters wishing to do that let them know of their intention.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on this item.

If you do not have a Blogger/Google etc account, then please click on "Name/URL" and type in your name or nickname.

If you have no URL you can leave that part blank.

Please do not post as "Anonymous".