Canal News from
The last tunnel built at a cost of over £300,000 it opened on the 20th of August 1858. It was built with two tow paths and wide enough for two boats. Thus is eased congestion in the narrow Dudley tunnel that had to be legged through. Its over 2.5km long, straight and now unlit. Take a torch!© Copyright Ashley Dace and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
29th Nov 2011
Engineers from British Waterways are investigating after some sections of the Netherton Tunnel near Dudley were found to be moving.
The tunnel, on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, is 150 years old. Monitoring over the past few years has shown that the lining of the centre sections is moving, causing some of the bricks to bulge and crack.
Over the next two weeks, tunnel experts will be carrying out detailed ground investigations to find the cause of the movement. They will take samples of the earth and rock surrounding the canal tunnel by drilling bore holes at various intervals along the crown (roof) and the side wall sections. These samples will allow specialists to test what material surrounds the tunnel. This, together with other detailed surveys, will help them determine the nature of the movement and the possible cause.
British Waterways’ senior manager Dean Davies said: “The Netherton Tunnel is well known to suffer from ground movement, and we do monitor this on weekly basis. We are currently concerned about the amount of movement happening in the centre section of the tunnel, which is a common weak spot in tunnel design. We need to carry out further investigations to find out exactly what may be causing the ground above and below the tunnel to move.
“The tunnel is still structurally sound. However, we need to start looking into this problem now and also decide how best to stop the movement getting any worse. Ultimately, we want to ensure the tunnel lasts another 150 years”
During the works, the canal will restricted to boat traffic at various intervals and the west side towpath will remain closed. For details of restrictions, check the waterscape stoppage pages or sign up for email alerts.
Netherton Tunnel and Tividale Aqueduct
Coming out of the northern end of Netherton Tunnel, Dudley, looking towards Tividale Aqueduct, which carries the Wolverhampton Canal Level over the Netherton Tunnel Branch.© Copyright Martin Clark and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Lock Keeper of the Year
Saltersford Locks on the River Weaver
The River Weaver here divides as the original course of the river crosses the canalised Barnton Cut, more or less at the locks. The Trent & Mersey canal runs close and parallel near the top of the wooded bank in the background. Public footpaths run between the river and the canal towpath and along the river bank upstream to the Winnington swing bridge and (the North Cheshire Way) Dutton Locks downstream.© Copyright Mike Harris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
1st Dec 2011
The Hotel Boat section of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO) has awarded Bryn Jones, a British Waterways’ lock keeper on the River Weaver with its annual Lock Keeper of the Year award.
Bryn has worked for British Waterways for almost 30 years and has over 20 years’ experience as a lock keeper. He is familiar with the whole of the River Weaver navigation, working as relief lock and bridge keeper before taking responsibility for Saltersford Locks.
Recipients are nominated and voted for by all APCO Hotel Boat operators so that they can recognise the support and assistance they receive as they take holidaymakers around Britain’s inland waterways. The award was presented at the Association’s recent national AGM, held this year in Llangollen at a hotel beside the River Dee.
Neil Thomsett and Gill Cookson, joint chairs of the Hotel Boat section of APCO, presented the award to Bryn, who was joined by British Waterways North Wales & Borders colleagues Wendy Capelle and Stephen Maguire.
The River Weaver near Anderton, Cheshire
The deciduous woodland is part of the Anderton Nature Park east of the famous boat lift. The narrowboats will use the lift to join the Trent and Mersey Canal fifty feet higher in level.
The River Weaver is navigable in its lower reaches, and flows in a curving route anti-clockwise across west Cheshire and into the Manchester Ship Canal. Before that canal was built the river flowed into the River Mersey at Weston Marsh.© Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Neil thanked Bryn for all his hard work, great humour and invaluable information, saying: “The Weaver navigation is such a lovely river – beautiful Cheshire countryside, fascinating industry and the drama of descending the Anderton Boat Lift and entering the vastness of Saltersford Lock. Bryn is always on hand to answer holidaymakers’ questions and help hotel boat crews as he works us through.
“Saltersford is a big deep lock and our safety is paramount for Bryn, whilst he imparts amazing statistics and history to our clients marvelling at the 1.4 million gallons of water the lock holds. Meanwhile he is a fantastic ambassador for the area around the Weaver, showering holidaymakers with tourism information and guiding us to local amenities. Plus anything he doesn’t already know he will find out and pass on as we return up river.”
Bryn was delighted to receive the award and adds: “I am honoured to win the award on behalf of the Weaver team, it is a first for the river and it is wonderful to hear how the experience of boating the River Weaver and the service that British Waterways gives is so appreciated by the hotel boat holidaymakers and crews.”
The Canal & River Trust has appointed chairs to a number of the Waterway Partnerships that will play a role in the management of canals and rivers across the network.
Chairs have been appointed in Manchester & Pennine, North Wales & Borders, South Wales & Severn and Kennet & Avon. The chairs for the Partnerships in the West Midlands and North West, who have, to date, been trials, have been asked to and have agreed to continue.
A chair has also been recruited for the Museums Partnership, which will be the successor to The Waterways Trust Museums Management Board.
Supporting local waterways
Tony Hales, chair of The Canal & River Trust said: “I am delighted that such a high calibre of people have come forward to chair these important positions of governance within the Canal & River Trust.
“Each will prove to be well placed to champion the interests of their local waterways. The Waterways Partnerships are integral to the stewardship and development of the network, providing new perspectives and insights, opening up new resources and ideas, and giving local people a greater opportunity to support their local canals and rivers: something that is integral to the success of the Canal & River Trust.”
Chairs are now being sought for the remaining Waterway Partnerships in the North East, Central Shires, East Midlands, South East and London and recruitment for the All Wales Partnership is continuing.
Calling on volunteers
The Canal & River Trust is also calling on volunteers who want to actively support the two-century old canal network to join their local Partnership and get involved and advise on how the waterways are used and looked after. Each Partnership will consist of at least eight volunteers who will be drawn from the local community and who will collectively have a broad spectrum of expertise relevant to the development of the waterways.
Experience in fundraising, volunteering, finance, planning and regeneration, boating, environment, heritage, engineering, community engagement, and working with partners in local government are all relevant.
All positions on the Partnerships will be unpaid, but agreed expenses will be reimbursed.
Those interested in joining a newly appointed chair on their local Waterway Partnership or in applying for one of the remaining positions of chair will be able to find role descriptions and application details at www.waterscape.com/trust from Thursday 1 December.
Applications for membership open on Friday 9 December 2011.