The winter works

Published: Monday, 16 December 2019

THE Canal & River Trust tells that 118  lock gates leaves are due to be replaced with over 100 having been made.

[We are not sure what is meant by 'leaves'—Editor.] Half are now on site either having been fitted or about to be put in place, with the Trust having completed 14 of the published winter improvement works with another 36 due to be finished by the Christmas break.  A further 92 repair and refurbishment projects we are told will be completed in the new year.

Major projects

In terms of major projects that the Trust is carrying out, work has been completed to replace gate cylinders on the Tees Barrage. On the Lancaster Canal, the Lune Embankment is being relined, while on the Macclesfield Canal similar work is being carried out at Palmerston Street Embankment.

HurlestonCloseAt Hurleston (pictured) on the Llangollen Canal, where movement in the lock walls has restricted passage through the lock, the Trust is carrying out work to rebuild the affected wall, halt movement, and increase the width of the lock chamber. Work is ongoing at Winterburn Reservoir, and at Blackbrook Junction Bridge in the West Midlands.

Swing and lift bridges

In the New Year there is a scheduled programme of works that includes repairs to mechanical swing and lift bridges, embankment relining, and culvert repairs, amongst others.  Two pumping stations are also on the list for special attention. Bowyer Street Pumping Station, a key water supply to the Grand Union Canal, will see works to upgrade and replace life-expired pumps. On the Wendover Arm, a similar project at Tringford Pumping Station will replace the pumps, pipes, electrics, and gantry.

dredging osterley lockDredging has been completed on the Macclesfield Canal and on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, where the Trust has removed 27,000 tons of contaminated sediment at Titford Pools. Further dredging, bank protection and tree works are planned in the new year. On the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal at Pontymoile, 4km of dredging has been completed, with a further 2.2km planned in the New Year.


Spot dredging on the Llangollen Canal is ongoing with around 1700 cubic metres of silt removed from the 2km length between Frankton Junction and New Marton Locks, with some reused to repair offside erosion. The work will continue into the new year, along with reactive spot dredging across the country and projects at Sharpness Dock, Ribble Link, Liverpool Dock approaches, and on the Upper & Lower Peak Forest and Chesterfield canals.

The Trust is also offering people the chance to see ‘behind the scenes’ at a number of sites. The open days will give visitors access into drained lock chambers on the Grand Union Canal and Trent & Mersey Canal, whilst repairs to the Anderton Boat Lift provide an opportunity to get a rarely-seen view of this ‘wonder of the waterways’.