Canal News – IWA Lichfield Branch & HS2 High Speed Rail

Canal News

IWA Lichfield Branch – Decking Preparation and Strimmer Training

A very brave eight volunteers from IWA Lichfield Branch arrived at St Augustine’s Firld on the Trent & Mersey Canalon Sunday 27th October, which had the worst weather forecast seen for a long time. As it happened, the only rain the group faced was during the break for tea and cake, so the volunteers managed to complete most of what was set out to do.

The main job of the work party was to clear the decking area again, which had become badly overgrown during the summer, and to start clearing the canal bank.

IWA Lichfield Branch is only at the beginning of what is quite a complicated project. The next stage will be to replace part of the decking, which is rotten, and begin to sandbag the canal bank.

IWA Lichfield Branch Work Party – Friday 8th November

The branch’s Friday work party saw a lucky thirteen volunteers working in the Brindley Bank area by the aqueduct on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Rugeley.

The footpath from the bottom of the ‘Bloody Steps’ to the aqueduct was finished in quick time, so the team started to fill in behind the piling at the far end of the moorings.

The grass had the last cut of the year, with the footpath from Wolseley Road having the side vegetation strimmed. The steps were cleared of leaves and accumulated moss to make them safer during the winter months.

Meanwhile, work to rebuild the wharf wall continued, although hampered by the persistent rain. The team was joined by a Police Community Support Officer, who advised that reported incidents of anti-social behaviour are well down since IWA started the renovation work, and that some offenders had been caught. Anyone observing anything untoward on the waterways should call the ‘101’ telephone number to report any incidents.

The branch’s volunteers are of all ages, and many wear different ‘volunteering hats’. On this occasion the branch members included volunteers and visitors from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, Stafford Riverway Link, Rugeley Lions, CRT, the Police, and local residents.

 volunteersbrindleybank_8thnov_mbeardsmorePhoto courtesy of Margaret Beardsmore.

HS2 High Speed Rail, Phase 2 route affects several canals – January 2013

The Government announced its preferred routes for Phase 2 of the High Speed Rail (HS2) network on 28th January. Phase 1 was from London to Birmingham and onto Lichfield (see January 2012 report below) and Phase 2 extends the line to Manchester and to Leeds. The plans show several canal crossings in IWA’s Lichfield Branch area, including the Trent & Mersey Canal at Fradley and Great Haywood, the Coventry Canal at Polesworth, and the planned restoration route of the Ashby Canal at Measham.

The Lichfield to Manchester section starts from the Phase 1 link to the West Coast Main Line (WCML) near Streethay. This link already crosses the Trent & Mersey Canal twice, at and near Woodend Lock. The new line adds a further bridge over the canal between Woodend and Shade House locks, creating three canal crossings in close proximity above Fradley Junction. Further north it crosses the T&M again right alongside the marina at Great Haywood, on a viaduct about 10 metres high, although the plans don’t even show the marina.

 LockShade House Lock, Trent & Mersey Canal. HS2 will cross through the woods in the middle distance. Pooley Hall Colliery Basin moorings, Coventry Canal.

Untitled-2The HS2 bridge will cross right over this point.

( Photos by Phil Sharpe)

The Water Orton to Leeds section crosses the Coventry Canal at Polesworth, by a bridge about 10 metres high, after cutting through the canalside Pooley Fields Heritage Centre. At Measham where it runs close to the A42 it crosses Burton Road, but with no bridge shown over the adjacent Ashby Canal line where proposed for restoration.

Numerous alternative alignments were considered at the planning stage and are detailed in the documents now released. A public consultation on the preferred options is promised during 2013. IWA will seek to minimise the visual and noise impact of the three new canal crossings and to ensure proper provision for the Ashby Canal restoration. We also continue to challenge the alignment of the Phase 1 WCML link with its 2 avoidable crossings of the canal, which threaten destruction of the lock cottage at Wood End Lock and would seriously damage the historic canal environment. With construction of Phase 2 expected to closely follow on from Phase 1, the need for this temporary link to be built at all is now very questionable.

North of the Lichfield Branch area, the Manchester route of HS2 and its link to the WCML near Wigan also crosses the Middlewich Branch and the Trent & Mersey again near Bostock Hall, the Bridgewater Canal at Agden Bridge and the Manchester Ship Canal. The Leeds route crosses the River Soar at Redhill, the River Trent’s Cranfleet Cut, the Erewash Canal (twice), the Sheffield Canal and the Aire & Calder Navigation three times between Wakefield and Leeds. All these crossings have adequate headroom, but there is no indication of any bridges to allow for the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal between Staveley, Renishaw and Killamarsh where the main route and a branch to a proposed Maintenance Depot cross the original canal line in several places.

All the plans and supporting documents can all be seen at:

https://www.gov.uk/hs2-phase-two-initial-preferred-route-plan-and-profile-maps

 

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