Pennine Waterways News

Sunday 29 April 2012

Trees block Upper Peak Forest Canal

The Upper Peak Forest Canal is currently closed about a mile south of Marple Top Lock. This is because a number of trees have been blown down across the canal near Bridge 21, Rawten Walls Bridge, also known as Plucks Bridge.

BW have said that an update will be issued on Monday 30th April.

With very high winds across the area for most of the day, it is likely that there will be other tree blockages elsewhere.

Update 29th April:
Fallen trees are also blocking the Lower Peak Forest Canal on the Romiley side of Hyde Bank Tunnel and between Bridge 3, Dukinfield and Bridge 4, Newton Hall, near where trees fell at the start of the month.

Update 30th April:
In addition to the fallen trees mentioned above, BW say there is also a tree blocking the Peak Forest Canal at Bridge 38 between Bridgemont and Bugsworth. BW reports that there are 7 trees down near Bridge 21, just south of Marple.

BW say they are endeavouring to remove the trees as soon as possible and a further update will be issued on Tuesday 1st May.

Update 1st May:
BW say that the trees should be removed by the end of 2nd May.

Peak Forest Canal at Rawton Walls Bridge

Friday 13 April 2012

Huddersfield Waterfront: The Photos

As reported here recently, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has been re-opened through the former Sellers Engineering site in Huddersfield, having been lifted up from the previous tunnel to become a feature of the Huddersfield Waterfront development.

A small selection of photographs has been sourced by British Waterways to share with you. The images are courtesy of Kirklees Council.

The first photo shows a section where the roof of the former tunnel has been removed. The channel partly infilled to raise the bottom of the canal by around 10 feet, although the new canal is still confined within the channel of the former tunnel.

Canal at ground level using channel of former tunnel.

The next photo shows the area immediately above the new lock that will return the canal to the previous level. The former tunnel channel has been opened out to provide a wider section where boats can pass or moor up for the lock.

Wider section looking towards Chapel Hill

Towards the eastern end of the site a new lock has been built to take the canal back down to the level that had run through the tunnel, so that it can pass below Chapel Hill. The photo shows the concrete cill at the head of the lock. The head gate is now roughly where the men with the ladder are. This is the third Lock 3e. The site of the first one is between this lock and Chapel Hill.

New Lock 3e.

The new Lock 3e during construction. The chamber has been created within the channel of the former tunnel, with concrete sides constructed in front of the piled walls. The concrete beams across the tunnel roof have not yet been removed in this photo.

New Lock 3e.

When the canal channel through the Waterfront site was complete, a low-key opening ceremony was arranged, with the Calder Navigation Society's boat Savile being brought in for the occasion. Savile is seen here in the new lock as it starts to fill.

Savile in the new Lock 3e.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony: Paul Kemp of Kirklees Council cuts the ribbon, flanked by David Baldacchino of British Waterways and Alan Stopher of the Huddersfield Canal Society.

Cutting the ribbon.

The canal is now open to navigation through the Waterfront site but the towpath is still closed as the area is still a building site. The towpath will open when landscaping of the area between the canal and river has been carried out.

[Photos courtesy of Kirklees Council]

More information about the scheme to open out the tunnel, including photos of the tunnel's construction 12 years ago, can be seen here.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Frenches stoppage on HNC continues

Further problems have been found at Halls Lock, 20w, on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Frenches, Greenfield.

The work involved extensive grouting of the lock chamber walls and towpath approach to resolve serious leaks. It was scheduled to be completed during the winter stoppage period, but overran because of additional problems encountered. BW recently announced that assisted passage through the lock would be available at 8.00 am each day while work was in progress.

However, following an inspection of the lock chamber floor by divers, the lock will now need to be de-watered to enable further work to be carried out.

This means that the lock is closed to navigation until further notice. BW will issue an update on Monday 16th April.

Enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

Update 17th April:
British Waterways says that contractors are having severe difficulty in removing the water from the lock floor due to the amount of leakage through the lock and the recent wet weather. Works to repair the lock floor cannot be stared until the lock is dewatered.

BW warns that the work could take from 14 days up to a month to complete.

BW will update the stoppage notice as soon as it possible to do so. BW says that these works are extra to the recent grouting works at the site following a failure during the commissioning stage, and that it is still unclear what has caused this failure.

Update 20th April:
In spite of the dire warnings put out earlier this week, BW has announced that the work is complete and Lock 20w is now open to navigation.

This prolonged stoppage has been a huge disappointment after BW had put so much money into replacing lock gates elsewhere on the canal this winter. A number of boats that were travelling along the canal have been waiting to go through this lock, including the wooden horseboat Maria which is travelling to take part in an event at Standedge.

An unconfirmed source has told Pennine Waterways that concrete grouting being installed leaked out and spread over the lock floor, preventing gates from opening.

Halls Lock, 20w, at Frenches.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Boat sinking blocks Huddersfield Canal

A boat has sunk in Lock 1w of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Ashton under Lyne. This has created a stoppage that could last a couple of days.

As this is the bottom lock of the canal, the pound below cannot be drained, so BW will need to put stop planks below the lock in order to pump put the water from the lock and from the boat so that it can be re-floated.

It was reported that BW staff need to cut some planks to size in order to do this. The draining may take place tomorrow if everything is ready. Waiting boaters have been warned they could be there for two days although BW have given no official indication of how long the stoppage will last.

Boaters intending to pass through this lock should wait at Portland Basin or in Stalybridge until the lock has re-opened.

Update 13th April:
The boat has been re-floated and the lock is now open to navigation.

The boat on the bottom in Lock 1w.

It was reported that the boat was being towed by another one, and had been bow-hauled into the lock. The boat is at the back of the lock and it would appear to have become hung up on the cill as the lock emptied.

The paddles on the tail gates are hydraulically operated from a remote location at the back of the lockside. This makes it slow to drop the paddles in an emergency. Local boaters have complained of the danger of hydraulic paddles in cases like this.

Leaky top gate continues to flood boat's counter.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Marple Locks stoppage

Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal are closed following a paddle failure.

British Waterways has warned that the complete failure of a paddle at Lock 2 on the Marple flight means that the lock cannot be operated.

Boaters are asked to wait below Lock 1 or above Lock 16 until the paddle can be repaired. An update will be issued when more is known.

This stoppage affects boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring.

Enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

Lock 2, Marple

Thursday 5 April 2012

New Stretch of canal opens in Huddersfield

A new stretch of canal opened in Huddersfield this week. This is the section of canal running through the former Sellers Engineering site, now being developed as the "Huddersfield Waterfront".

When the canal was restored 12 years ago the work involved re-locating Lock 3e to the western end of the site to allow the canal to pass through a cut-and-cover tunnel below the site. Despite a lot of money being spend on new buildings for Sellers when the canal tunnel was constructed, Sellers have now relocated onto a site on the outskirts of the town.

The area is being developed as the "Huddersfield Waterfront" scheme which will include a new campus for Kirklees College as well as housing and offices. As part of the scheme, the tunnel was opened up and the canal bed raised, bringing the canal back to the surface, although still confined to the narrow channel that the tunnel had occupied.

The canal now passes straight through what had been the new Lock 3e (see photo). An even newer Lock 3e has now been constructed near the eastern end of the site, not far from the first incarnation of this lock. A short section of wider canal has been built above the lock, where boats passing through the lock can moor and be passed by boats going in the opposite direction. The work has also involved the creation of a vehicle bridge and a footbridge across the canal.

A small opening ceremony was carried out at the end of March, when the Calder Navigation Society's boat Savile was used for the ribbon-cutting event.

Unfortunately, I am not able to share any photos of this event with you as no invitation to attend was received, internet users presumably coming low on the priority list. I was also unable to bring you photos of the construction work as the company running the site did not reply to emails and failed to return phone calls. Although a press report says that the new towpath will be open in April it is not yet open, so the nearest I could get was above the former Lock 3e. You can see from the photo below that the canal now continues straight through the lock chamber and disappears out of sight around the curve.

I will bring you photos of this new section of canal at some point in the future when the towpath eventually opens.

The canal now passes straight through what had been Lock 3e.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Trees block Cheshire Ring canals

High winds overnight have brought down trees, blocking the Ashton and Peak Forest Canals.

On the Lower Peak Forest Canal, a number of trees have come down near Bridge 3, Dukinfield Hall Bridge, and are blocking the canal. On the Ashton Canal, a number of trees have come down near Bridge 19 at Audenshaw and are blocking the canal.

British Waterways are taking immediate action and are mobilising contractors to remove the trees.

These stoppages affect boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring.

For further information about these stoppages, contact BW on 01782 785703.

Bridge 3, Dukinfield Hall Bridge, Peak Forest Canal

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Bridge restrictions on way to Liverpool

Boaters heading to or from Liverpool face delays as yet another problem has happened with one of the swing bridges along the way.

Over the weekend, Coxhead's Swing Bridge (bridge 20), between Haskayne and Lydiate, caused problems for boaters, who needed assistance from British Waterways. BW engineers have examined the bridge and found that there is damage to the barrier and gear box. This makes the bridge impossible for boaters to operate.

Until repairs can be completed, BW staff will offer assisted passage through Coxhead's Swing Bridge (bridge 20). Until further notice, the bridge will only be opened at 9.00 am and 3.00 pm.

Boaters wishing to pass through this bridge are asked by BW to ensure that they are at the bridge promptly at those times.

Any enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01942405700.

Coxhead's Swing Bridge, Leeds and Liverpool Canal