Victor wonders if this is a lift bridge record

Published: Saturday, 15 October 2022

IT WAS way back on the 13th of September that Wood End Lift Bridge on the Peak Forest gave up the ghost and it has taken a month to repair.

This then, we were informed by dear Canal & River Trust(?) needed 'teams and contractors to demobilised the site of works'. Whatever that means.

wood end liftSo the lift bridge was back in action late Friday 14th. Just over a month later, our Keith reports.

We were originally informed that several components were damaged and it was expected that replacement parts would need to be sourced.

After various weekly excuses these 'teams and contractors' managed to source the parts and install them to make the bridge workable once more.

But a month?  One wonders—well this one does!—if any of those 'teams and contractors' actually knew what they were doing?  But worse! Will the repair last or be like so many other repaired lift and swing bridges that don't?

WrenburyLiftBridgeSprings to mind

Mentioning lift and swing bridges repeatedly failing, the words Cox and Winkwell spring to mind that fail again time after time, vying with each other to get the record!

Of course, though not so many of them, lift bridges too repeatedly fail,  through what one can only imagine is poor workmanship, with Wrenbury Lift Bridge on the Llangollen joining the queue with four failures—in July 2020, February, August and September of this year.

Yet the Llangollen Canal was our first cruise in our own boat way back in 1997, and there is no record of the bridge failing in all those years since the failure under CaRT in 2020, then followed by the three more...

In fact during September no less than ten swing/lift bridges failed.

Something is wrong—very wrong.

But what does it mean?

I don't take much notice of towpath closure notices from CaRT as they rarely affect boating, but one stoppage notice concerning the closure of the Regent's Canal towpath has me baffled.

We are told: 'Scaffolding works for restoration at Falcon works, over sail for 10 weeks. Towpath closure, first and last weeks of programme (first week covered by Ragged School Closure)'.

It has our Keith baffled too, he remarking: 'Talk about drivel, who ever wrote this must be totally deranged!'
To which I can but agree.


Another thing that needs a little more sense is the decision to allow the passage of boats into Harecastle Tunnel from each end at hourly intervals.
Our own experience of waiting for a hire boat to come through was well after an hour and others too have told of similar experiences to show that this is not practical.
Unless of course whoever at CaRT stipulated the times was not aware it was a narrow tunnel, and so expected boats to pass knowing only of broad ones...
Reading many of the notices these days it is very clear that there are those at head office, or wherever, who don't know too much about the working of the waterways. eh?
Victor Swift