Anderton Boat Lift reopens in March

Published: Monday, 31 October 2022

THE closed Anderton Boat Lift is undergoing a major £450,000 repair and is planned to reopen in March of next year.

LiftRams2The lift has been out of action since August when the safety mechanism on one of the lift’s gates failed, due to a broken bracket, with the required work starting in mid November and due to be completed in time for next season.

Two repair projects

Canal & River Trust tell that there will be two repair projects, with the two hydraulic ram cylinders, which each propel a caisson transporting boats up and down, being given a much-needed overhaul. The metal tank caissons that carry the boats will be detached from the rams and propped up about two metres above ground level to allow the 20 years old cylinder seals to be replaced, the ceramic rams re-polished and re-set, and 12,000 litres of hydraulic oil to be changed.

The other work will be each of the lift’s ten sets of gates will have two new ‘fall and arrest’ safety systems installed, which act like a giant seat belt in an emergency.

Following identification of the safety issue in the summer, new designs have been engineered, approved by English Heritage and manufactured. Once the repairs have been carried out, the lift will have a short recommissioning period of about two to four weeks before it is once again available to carry boats.

LiftCharlesFran Littlewood, Canal & River Trust Project Manager, explained:

Huge challenges

“The Anderton Boat Lift is a unique structure and one of the Wonders of the Waterways. Because of its uniqueness, every operating element is a one-off and needs to be designed specially to work within a structure that is nearly 150 years old. This is its charm, but also brings huge challenges when parts need replacing.

“This winter’s work will allow the lift to return to operation in time for Easter and the start of the 2023 summer boating season. However, we are very aware that it is over 20 years since the major restoration project, reopened by King Charles when he was Prince of Wales,

"It has successfully been carrying boats for two decades. But now the lift requires some significant work to bring it up to modern day operating standards, including the introduction of a new wireless computer control system, targeted steelwork repairs and a full repaint. The Trust has applied to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a £5 million grant and we should hear whether we have been successful with our first-round application before Christmas.

an opening“If the bid does succeed, we can then start designing this next major phase of works which will ensure a secure future for the lift as a historic working monument for decades to come.

"If all goes to plan, the lift will be fully open to boaters during the 2023 and 2024 boating seasons, before closing in autumn 2024 for an 18-month programme of works, reopening again in spring 2026.”

Visitor Centre open

The Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre will continue to welcome visitors throughout this winter at weekends—Saturdays and Sundays, 9.30am to 4.30pm. The Trust’s popular Santa Cruises will run in December.