EA fix Thames replacement gate collar in two hours!

Published: Wednesday, 28 October 2020

THE collar failure fiasco at Atherstone reminded me of an event two years ago, locking up at Osney on the Thames, writes Paul Woollam.

The lock keeper had emptied the lock for us and was just opening the bottom gates when a collar suddenly failed.

The gate dropped about 10 degrees out of the vertical . At which point we were, despite the lock keeper's assurances, mooring our boat for the long term, contemplating the length delay we might expect from a similar incident on CaRT waters.

OsneyLockNot to asses the situation but to fix

But, some 45 minutes later, on a Sunday afternoon, two gentlemen arrived from the Environment Agency.  Not to assess the problem and issue a stoppage notice, but to fix the gate.

Out of their van came a winch and they had the gate vertical in minutes.  A replacement collar was next to appear and, equally fast, they slid it round the gate post and tightened it up.

They spent some 20 minutes repeatedly testing the gate mechanism and checking the hydraulic and electrical systems, then packed up and were gone.

Closed for just two hours

The navigation was closed for maybe two hours.  How long would it have taken CaRT to fix this problem we wondered?

Now it’s true that the EA only has 45 locks on the Thames, compared to CaRT’s 1,500, though those 45 are vastly more complicated.  But even so the contrast between the two navigation authorities is astonishing.

One fixed a failed gate collar in a couple of hours whilst the other manages to drop the gate in the lock.