Pennine Waterways News

Thursday 12 May 2011

Calder and Hebble Drained Near Elland

A section of the Calder and Hebble Navigation between Elland and Brighouse has been drained in an act of vandalism.

British Waterways staff are currently transferring water down from upstream but, as the pound between Park Nook Lock and Cromwell Lock is one mile long, it will take some time to fill. BW estimate that this will take two days and an update will be issued tomorrow afternoon.

Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 0113 281 6860.

Cromwell Lock, Calder and Hebble Navigation

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Boater Damage Shuts Rochdale Canal For One Week

The Rochdale Canal looks set to be closed for a week at Sowerby Bridge after a lock gate was damaged by a boat.

Inattention from a boater resulted in the boat lifting the towpath side head gate out of its pot, making the lock inoperable.

British Waterways staff were on site this morning and had been hoping to have the lock open by mid-day, minimising disruption to boaters booked to use Tuel Lane Lock.

However, investigations revealed damage to the bottom of the displaced lock gate and the cill. These works will take approximately one week to carry out safely as the cill will have to be reconstructed.

This stoppage will affect boaters navigating the South Pennine Ring. It is a further blow to canal users in the area after water shortage forced severe restrictions in the use of Tuel Lane Lock.

Any enquiries about this should be made to British Waterways on 01782 785703.

It is expected that the canal will remain closed until Thursday 19th May. British Waterways will issue an update on progress on Monday 16th May.

Update Thursday 19th May:
The damage to the locks is more extensive than originally thought, resulting in delay of opening until 1.00 pm on Saturday 21st May.

Update Friday 20th May:
Lock 1 will reopen for navigation at 8.00 am on Monday 23rd May.

Update Monday 23rd May:
Lock 1 is now open for navigation. Restrictions on passage through Tuel Lane Lock announced earlier in May will apply, with advance booking required.

Pound above Lock 1, Rochdale Canal

Tuesday 10 May 2011

One Day Stoppage on Rochdale Nine Next Week

Boaters hoping to use the Rochdale Nine flight of locks through Manchester next Wednesday, 18th May, face delays as the locks will be closed for most of the day.

The pound between Locks 91 and 92, just above Castlefield, will be de-watered to allow clearance of objects in the canal to improve navigation.

The de-watering will start at 7.30 am and is planned to last until 3.00 pm. Navigation will be possible again after 5pm after the water level has been restored.

This stoppage will affect boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring.

Boaters who find that they will arrive at the Rochdale Nine next Wednesday should moor at either Castlefield or in the Piccadilly Basin area above Lock 84 and enjoy a day shopping or sight-seeing in Manchester!

The pound between Locks 91 and 92, Rochdale Canal

Monday 9 May 2011

Stoppage on Wigan Flight

There is an emergency stoppage in place on the Wigan flight of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The stoppage follows the failure of the tail gate apron and cill at Lock 77.

No details about the expected length of the stoppage are available yet but this item will be updated when more is known.

Update Wednesday 11th May, 4.00 pm:
The repairs are not yet complete and the lock flight remains closed. A further update will be issued on Friday 13th May.

Update Friday 13th May, 4.00 pm:
BW say that while they were repairing the cill it became apparent that there is significant structural failure to the lock floor below the tail gates. BW engineers are working to find a solution to repair the lock. A further update will be issued on Wednesday 18th May.

Lock 77, Wihan flight

Friday 6 May 2011

Leeds and Liverpool Summit Restrictions

In a bid to prevent closure of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal this year, British Waterways are beginning restricted opening hours on the locks each side of the canal's summit pound.

From Monday 9th May, the Barrowford and Greenberfield flights of locks will be locked between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am Monday to Thursday. The locks will remain open on Friday evenings and at weekends.

Lasy entry onto these flights will be at 4.00 pm. Volunteers will then padlock the locks at 6.00 pm when all boats have vacated the locks.

Bank Newton and Gargrave lock flights will not be padlocked but BW request that boaters do not use these locks after 6.00 pm as there will be no feed into the East Marton pound during that time so if the locks are used and pounds run dry, there will be no supply of water to refill pounds.

BW say these restrictions will reduced the feed from the reservoirs by around 50% and the water saved will help towards keeping the canal open throughout the season. Last year the shortage of water resulted in the closure of 60 miles of canal between Wigan and Gargrave.

During restricted opening hours last year, some boaters cut off padlocks and used the locks anyway. BW have stated that if that happens again the boats will be traced with a view to prosecuting the boaters for criminal damage.

BW also warn that if any pounds are drained by vandalism or boater misuse then they will not automatically use additional water to refill them. So far this year BW is aware of numerous instances of boaters leaving paddles up on these critical lock flights.

Before opening paddles at locks, check that the previous boater has properly closed the paddles at the other end of the lock. When you leave a lock, check that you have properly closed all paddles. This is one of the simplest ways of helping to keep the canal open. BW also request that boaters wait for another boat so that locks can be shared and not to turn empty locks if a boat is approaching from the opposite direction.

When travelling downhill on these lock flights, a crew member should fill the next lock before you empty the lock you are in, thus re-filling the pound and avoiding unnecessary waste down the by-wash.

If the water situation deteriorates, BW will introduce further restrictions, which will include Barrowford, Gargrave and Wigan flights being closed between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am 7 days a week.

For any enquiries about these restrictions contact British Waterways on 01942 405700.

Greenberfield Locks

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Serious Water Shortage at Sowerby Bridge

British Waterways have issued an urgent warning to any boaters planning to use the eastern part of the Rochdale Canal. This involves the need to book Tuel Lane Lock in advance and the risk of delays or even closure.

As a result of the continuing dry weather, the Environment Agency has told BW to stop using the pumps that extract water from the River Calder at Luddenden Foot. These pumps feed the 3-mile long pound above Tuel Lane Lock. As this is Britain's deepest canal lock, each time it is used, a huge amount of water is taken from the pound, which cannot be replaced simply from the normal use use of the locks above. BW state that "loss of this abstraction will have a significant effect on our ability to continue navigation".

With immediate effect BW are requiring advanced booking for Tuel Lane Lock. This will be limited to one use of the lock per day. The time of this locking will flexible and will depend on the availability of water and the needs of the booked boaters.

Bookings will only be taken 48 hours in advance to the Red Bull office - 01782 785703.

BW warn that this will result in delays for boats passing through. If the pounds below Tuel Lane (i.e. above Locks 1 and 2) become starved of water, BW will have to close this section of the canal until water is available.

BW warn that "anyone choosing to pass down the east side of the Rochdale Canal should do so with the knowledge that water supplies are constrained and that Tuel Lane may not be navigable for some time".

Any enquiries about this should be made to British Waterways on 01782 785703.

This restriction affects boaters navigating the South Pennine Ring. It does not affect the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

Update 10th May:
The recent showery weather has eased the situation very slightly. As a result the number of lockings will be increased to two per day in each direction (i.e. four narrowboats per day in each direction). Narrowboats must share the lock. Passages must be booked a minimum of 48 hours in advance as described above. The pattern of two lockings a day in each direction will continue daily until the end of next weekend, at which point the situation will be reviewed.

The tunnel below Tuel Lane Lock, Sowerby Bridge