Victor believes it the worst decision ever

Published: Monday, 03 January 2022

ANOTHER year gone and what is proved beyond any doubt is the worst decision ever by Canal & River Trust.

Its decision to replace a knowledgeable workforce that knew and well understood the vagaries of the waterways with what is mainly a road/house building contractor—Keir, whom I have previous mentioned were 15 months late with its upgrading of the local M1 motorway.  And afterwards caused tailbacks in the nights patching the surface—our being caught as we left the boat to get home for weeks on end until we decided to leave early to miss it!

Irvins Lock stripsAnyway, to the waterways and also as previously mentioned that this company like a job to start on a Monday and end on a Friday, as was the case at Irvin's Lock on the Leicester Section where I was actually present where two wooden strips were attached to the bottom gates ('and a bit of clearing up' I was told) that took a week.

Compare this with CaRT's 'own team' attaching two similar strips to Lock 27W on the Huddersfield Narrow  in October last year—that took a single day!

Still on the Leicester Section, this time at Lime Kiln Lock that was out of action for a week for the contractor to repair a broken paddle.

But far worse for boaters is having to wait months for a lock to be repaired then it breaking just a few months later, trapping them once again whilst those contractors 'have another go'.

BrokenSawley2Which of course brings me to Oxclose Lock on the Ripon Canal that has again trapped 200 moorers in their berths, having already suffered a two months stoppage last April. And again a stoppage caused by a hole that it seems they missed the first time. 

As a 'nice little earner' far away from the usual work on roads and housing estates, Oxclose, in the country, is a very pleasant place to work, so who knows how many 'holes' will appear in future?

Sawley No 2 Lock suffered the same fate, with a £1.6 million 'major repair' that failed, again a few months later when a bottom lock gate came adrift, it being left by the contractors with rotten timber—here's a picture.

Then Toddbrook Reservoir that failed through lack of maintenance that it was estimated needed between £12 and £16 millions to repair.  Yet the repair was not put out to tender, but given to Keir.

AireLastThat is something I just do not understand, as neither do I the massive cost of repairs these days that surely is the main cause of so little spent on winter maintenanceand we all know what's happening to those as John Coxon so well pointed out.

Then there was the repair of the rather insignificant breach on the Aire & Calder, as  pictured, that developed into a three act opera by the contractors, dragging on for eight months and costing in the region of £3 millions to repair.

No explanation is ever given for these massive spends that cost Canal & River Trust so much money.

I just dread to think what this year will bring.

Accurate figures

Any road upas we say up here, I'll answer a few question we get from time to time, and tell how you can read about all the things referred to above.

Simple my friends, as most of you will already have ascertaineduse the 'Search' facility shown on every page.  And as to the question asked about the number at the very top of every page in the internet link it's the number of articles on the site since it was revamped back in 2009, the number of this article being 13,622.

Meaning of course the actual number of pages at present13,622, giving a search facility of the waterways second to none!

Of the various hits to the pages, strangely the article concerning the 'Longport Boatyard Fire' received the most at 38,326, hits. Beating, alas my own efforts 'Victor has a wet one', seen 30,128 times.

Alas, for our masters in Ivory Towers their stoppages get plenty of airing, the total of all the pages referring to the Aire & Calder breach reaching 132,546 'hits'!

Sorry but too difficult for me to calculate the yearly views to all the pages as can only discover the individual totals, and there are far too many of them, but it knocks out at a few millions.

Hence our Thomas needing the two Google adverts (and resisting efforts from Google to swamp it, like so many others) to be able to afford the site, getting a few pence when one is 'hit'.

It's supposed to be a holiday today, so that's enough from me, this calculating wears me out!  Here's hoping you have a Happy boating New Year!

Victor Swift