Victor reckons it's Canal & River Bust!

Published: Saturday, 04 November 2023

THE increasing winter works being cancelled seems down to lack of money.

In the cancellation of the winter works of the Purton Upper Swing Bridge on the Gloucester & Sharpness, the Canal & River Trust clearly stated—and I quote'The trust has had to remove this work from this year’s winter works programme while we review scope and cost of the project'.

Well that is clear enough wouldn't you say? It's not sure if it has enough cash!

But what makes it particularly worrying for us boaters is that CaRT also tell—'A stoppage is required as 'Purton Upper Swing Bridge is currently in a poor state of repair, therefore essential works need to be carried out'.

Essential or not, if it hasn't the cash, it cannot be done. So I reckon those of you intending going to Sharpness and back, had better beware, as that bridge obviously isn't at all reliable as in a poor state of repair.

It is told that the cost has increased significantly from initial estimates together with issues sourcing the materials required.

So it's to be done at a future winter programme, when obviously finances could be healthier.

And another

Sheffield & Tinsley Canal is another, I learn, that has its winter works cancelled.

The work was to  carry out repairs to the 'overturning washwall'whatever that means.

But after further investigation it was revealed 'the scope is much larger than originally planned'.

Costing too much?

So another bites the dust and will be added to a future winter programme.

Leicester flood repair depends on quote

In the case of the Flood Babet damage (pictured) on the Leicester Section its repair will also depends 'how much the repair will cost'.

Canal & River Trust telling the specialist contractor has visited the site to assess the cost of the damage to the towpath and piling that the flood washed away, with the trust explaining it is awaiting the quote of how much the repairs will cost.

In the meantime both the waterway and towpath will remain closed as the trust works in conjunction with the Leicester City Council to manage the situation, but there is the hope that it may be possible 'to permit transit through the damaged pound'.

So at the moment a change of name to Canal & River Bust would seem appropriate, eh?

Strange characters

You seem to come across some very strange characters at Mercia Marina, as the picture our Mary sent us shows.

It seems they were part of the 'Weekend of Witchcraft', one of its regular family offerings, that alas I missed.

Though I thought I had been shown everything by our guide Marynot so, for she tells of 'the palace', that we certainly have not seen, so obviously a date for this week.

Cancellations keep coming

Regular readers will have noticed that there are now  four winter works that have been cancelled, two more being added to the two earlier cancellations already reported, that bit the dust.

The four cancellations being on the Leeds & Liverpool, the Trent & Mersey, the Rochdale and the Gloucester & Sharpness.

Last winter there were cancellations way into the New Year, so it's likely that there will be more.

But it makes a mockery of that statement announcing that vast millions will be spent this winter on making the waterways so much better.

So many millions in fact, and so exaggerated that our Thomas left the figure out!  And it seems he was right, as is obviously coming to pass...

Dragging it on...

Looking at the times it is now taking to undertake what in the past were fairly simple jobs, makes me wonder if contractors are dragging jobs on, particularly to make up a weeks work, that is leaving the trust short of cash, as it obviously is.

Take such as seven weeks to replace a cill on the Wigan Flight. It will take from six to eight weeks to repair the culvert on the Leeds & Liverpool. The Worcester & Birmingham being another long job. And of course others that have been publicised—showing it is not the trust's fault.

Wigan FlightNoticeA little confusing

Short of cash or not, those blue signs keep coming, and as as I mentioned previously they are getting bigger and so obviously more expensive, even needing two poles for support.

Here's a photograph of one on Wigan Flight sent in by regular contributor Dave Collins the sign telling Wigan Flight is closed at 5pm. So far so good he adds, but then they throw this confusing bit in—'last lock passage at 12pm.' Is that not midnight..?

Maybe the trust should get a new job advertising for something like a signage proof reader, he believes.
I reckon it would be better having been shown as 12 noon, for obviously that is what is meant, then no confusion, for there are those who will take it as midnight, and so if in a hurry...
I'll end this week with a comment from another contributor, Bill Ridgeway, concerning my own article about vandals, he telling:
It certainly gives the lie to the 'vandals' excuses. All too often 'vandals' is little more than a a cover-up for CaRT's own failure. A conclusion from this is that by blaming vandals for problems for which CaRT is responsible, CaRT is (by its own admission) a vandal...  Now there's a thought! 
Victor Swifttelling tales for 23 years