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JamesWoolcock last won the day on April 19

JamesWoolcock had the most liked content!

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    English Midlands

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  • Boat Name
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    Stone occasionally

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  1. JamesWoolcock

    What will happen to the Flapper in 2019

    Any news on The Prince of Wales?
  2. JamesWoolcock

    Bloody Day Boats

    I met a quite a few on the Bridgewater on the way to Lymm today and very entertaining. Lovely weather. Lots of pirates. Lots of booze. Lots of people on board too. But it's wide and deep so they had more room in which to screw up and they were having a lovely day on the waterways. James
  3. JamesWoolcock

    Deep locks

    That's because they haven't fixed the leak in the bottom gates.
  4. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    So it wasn't just me! I suggest to help to improve things you should tell of this to jane.marriot@canalrivertrust.org.ok She is the engineer trying to solve this situation and I know she would really welcome your input. She's very approachable and really would welcome your comments. James
  5. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    Oooooops Typo: " ...in the mid 1970s" !
  6. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    MARQUIS is indeed a former FMC steamer of 1898, shortened to 54ft during her later working life on the BCN. The 'skirt' is in fact a 'false counter' or sub counter, added by Eddie Hambridge and a rather young Andrew Rothen when they worked for Pinders at Horninglow in Burton on Trent in the mid 1960s. They put the steel bottom on then too. Like all early steamers she has both a very long swim and entry so when shortened there is only about 16ft where the baseplate sides are parallel. The purpose of the false counter is twofold: to give greater stability to a now rather wobbly boat and to raise the counter. The first it must do to some extent, although she can still wobble! At the last out of water survey in 2017 it was observed that the false counter had become perforated and was full of mud and water. After an excellent repair at Canal Cruising Co's dock in Stone, there is no difference in draught. In the latter respect I don't think it does much. Nevertheless Malcolm Braine advised me not to have it removed because of the stability issue. She draws 3ft at the back of the skeg and around 2ft 3in at the stem post, representing a load of some 12 tons. This was scientifically measured by popping her alongside EMU with 11 tons of coal on! MARQUIS was lower at the deck beam. All this is when the two water tanks at the forend are full. When I crossed the lower pound at Minworth they were partly down so she might have been drawing half to one inch more. She does draw down more than this when under way, where here she barely was. I hope this adds something to the discussion. James
  7. JamesWoolcock

    Credit for canal engineers

    I've always had an interest in the men who actually did the work. Lord So and So didn't build his great house, it was the builder. Much is recorded in the railway age of men like Peto and Brassey, but there seems little about many of the canal contractors. These were the men that made it really happen. Architect Thomas Harrison designed the Grosvenor Bridge over the River Dee in Chester, at the time the world's largest single span stone arch, but it took the skills and resources of James Trubshaw of Little Haywood in Staffordshire to actually build it and make it stay up. James
  8. JamesWoolcock


  9. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    Ha ha. Well spotted. It had been a long day.
  10. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    As promised: I arrived at Minworth Bottom Lock around 10am (10 April) to find the water level on weir. We were two boats so this would have had some effect on levels thereafter, although this is a quarter mile pound, albeit shallow and therefore not holding that much water for it's length.. After Forge Lane Bridge I started to scrape on what felt like fairly small hard items the boat rode over. At the site of the recent embankment repairs progress was very slow with much graunching from under the boat. I came to a complete standstill twice. I had a much shallower draft modern boat behind me crewed by close friends so I knew I wouldn't have to call CRT and that they would rescue me and snatch me of if all else failed. But after much effort I was free and made very slow progress was made to the middle lock. I telephoned and reported the issue to Sue Cawson. I soon received an email copy from Sue of one she sent to Jane Marriot, the engineer who oversaw the remedial works. And one from Ian Lane copied to Sue and Jane, to tell me that they are organising a full survey, and asking Jane to liaise with me. I will email Jane over the weekend and appraise her of my experience here, copying to both Sue and Ian, but tomorrow it's the Daw End Canal and the Wyrley and Essington so I expect to be rather busy with the shunters' pole! James
  11. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    The postings on here have indeed been so useful. But we all need to report problems to CRT. And talk to then nicely! That's where the power to get things done lies. This and with the help of Sue Cawson (CRT Navigations Advisory Group & HNBC Navigations Officer) did a lot to get Minworth sorted and open (?) to boats like this. Tomorrow I'm going up Minworth and will report. As well as posting on here, for best results Email problems to Customer Services and copy to Waterways Manager. Yesterday I sent an email to CRT Customer Services about CRT work boats on Visitor Moorings (and over the Bank Holiday!) and copied it to the Waterways Manager. Within 3 minutes Ian Lane replied that CRT shouldn't be doing this and he would deal with it. Excellent. Thank you Ian. James
  12. JamesWoolcock

    Fox and anchor pub

    Called there 10 days ago and a transformation: Interior altered little Nice, staff Dog friendly. Yes,true, dog friendly!!! To me view, a poor menu from which Vintage Inns first did. They were great. But otherwise, from a reluctant stop over to a destination. Happy days.... James
  13. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    Yes, rude. Very rude. James
  14. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    I fail to see how such gratuitous rudeness helps anyone. I understand that she has visited and is very much involved, but if you want to know, why don't you ask her? It is precisely hurtful and personal comments like this that is the reason that CRT staff don't participate in forum discussions, which in turn leads to misinformation, rumour and conjecture. Your comments, Sir, would be more appropriate on another site. James
  15. JamesWoolcock

    Minworth embankment repair

    Hello all I visited the Minworth site yesterday (Tuesday) on the advice of the of the Historic Narrow Boat Club (Where our boats can go, so can yours!) Navigations Officer who is also a member of the CRT Navigations Advisory Group (NAG) who said I should find CRT engineer Jane Marriott on site and I should talk to her. Jane was there to 'sort it out'. Her regular job is 'Programme Manager, Asset Improvement', so she'll never be stuck for anything to do then! So I did and learnt a lot. She is very approachable, happy to share all her information and I think she listens. The works here were overseen centrally by CRT not the local West Midlands Waterways Office, who have had the sticky end of the stick in sending out the Notices, email or otherwise, so some, including me, thought it was down to them. It isn't. Kier are the contractors and as you will see it's not down to them either. As I understand it the issues were to make a permanent repair to the troublesome embankment against the A38 trunk road into Birmingham, and to deal with multiple canal bed leakages just downstream of there. The contractors did put a haul road down the drained canal as the first postings on this topic confirm with really good photographs.. And at the end of works Kier advised CRT that it must come out before rewatering. However here lies the problem. CRT had considered that the silt here was not of a hazardous status. It was. Surprise? And therefore the haul road material added was now also of a hazardous status,it having been added to the silt. The cost of removal of the hazardous material was huge and therefore, against the advice of the contractors Kier, and not wishing to add to the already large cost of the contract, CRT decided to rewater with all the stone left in, the timber having been removed. As you all know, boats will push through silt, even hazardous silt (!) but stone is different. They get stuck. Jane Marriott tells me that they now know this was a great mistake from which they have now learnt. And can't apologise enough. Whilst I was there Kier had a large machine back in the canal bed and were removing the now 'hazardous' stone, which will be very expensive to dispose of. All round the very best of intentions but a great cock up nevertheless. I must add that the site is embanked, and for a part on both sides of the navigation. This is the reason the silt was replaced against the wash walls to add stability as would be expected. A breach onto the A38 wouldn't just inconvenience us boaters! Besides, who wants to moor here? The depth at the Services further up is another issue but not unrelated. In short, CRT must consider all silt around the BCN, and probably many other former heavily industrialised areas, to be 'hazardous' and enjoy the bonus if it's found not to be. And make their original assessments based on this. Kier the contractors appear not to be at fault at all. Having had the passage out of Birmingham on the Birmingham & Fazeley denied to me 10 days ago, I am returning this way in the next few weeks. Ummmm. We shall see. James

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