Not delayed by any stoppages

Published: Friday, 08 November 2019

This year we have cruised nearly 900 miles and worked through almost 750 locks with about 122 nights aboard, writes Mike Todd.

This including Rochdale, Leeds and Liverpool, Macclesfield and Peak Forest.  I cannot recall a single occasion on which we have been delayed by stoppages.

Have to plan into Liverpool

We did have to plan the day of our passage into Liverpool because of the limited opening of the bridge that was (probably) vandalised but in fact it re-opened just ahead of our arrival.

I am not sure about winter stoppages—of course a lengthy planned stoppage is much better out of season although for each boater they are the only one that matters, so if they are held up in December it is just as inconvenient for them as one in August.

Makes more cost effective sense

However, one of the strategic aims must be to operate as efficiently as possible and spreading work out over a whole year makes much more cost effective sense in terms of use of both people and equipment.

Ideally work which involves a stop on navigation should be concentrated in the off season but some of the other that can be done in the summer will be towpath work and, as we are oft reminded, there are many more users of the towpath than the canal itself and they are also inconvenienced with towpath closures, especially if it is a regular route to work, shops or services.

Given specialised and specific training

In modern society, working rules mean that more and more staff have to be given specialised and specific training in what they do and so having 'jack of all trades' staff becomes an expensive luxury for other than basic maintenance etc.  Even removing fallen trees requires such as chain saw qualifications these days.

I fully recognize that there are always too many in-season stoppages and that many of them are caused by pressure on maintenance but many are also the result of deliberate or careless damage.  It does not do to
over-state the case!