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Pluto

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  1. Sorry, I should have written Felixstowe. All places south of Sheffield seem the same to me! One of the major problems with rail traffic to and from Felixstowe is the single track approach, which I believe restricts the number of trains which can serve the port daily. I was always impressed with the freight line from Rotterdam, as it was being constructed during the years when I was driving to Germany and Poland a few times each year. Returning to Europort, it was always interesting to see how the track had been fitted into the landscape through the 20 odd miles of the port. It does seem to have been the result of a clear integrated transport policy with wide public benefit, something the MfT seems to have failed to produce since it was formed as the MoT in 1919.
  2. If it was about improving the rail infrastructure they would have built a new goods-only line from Harwich to the Midlands initially, with extensions to Liverpool, Southampton, and even that corruption centre of the NE, Teesport. The line would be similar to the one built between Rotterdam and the Ruhr, so high speed for freight, but nothing like HS standards, and thus much cheaper. The initial phase would cut across an area of low population, through fairly level ground, and relieve the congestion at Harwich, particularly noticeable during Covid. It would prove of benefit to the whole country, with the existing passenger network continuing to serve smaller towns which will be bypassed by HS2. HS2 is for the suits who want to rush around appearing to do something useful, while the general population will not be able to afford tickets if they are priced to pay for the infrastructure.
  3. I wouldn't trust anything on the Historic England site until I had checked it. I have been trying for thirty years for the entry for Wigan warehouses to be rectified, and get nothing but stonewalling.
  4. I worked on fitting out Adele as a hire boat, and did quote a lot of maintenance for about a year after. Shrubbie was certainly a unique character, and fun, if a little exasperating, to work for. The photo shows my boat Pluto, with my Riley 9 special on the left, and Towy. Clearing the site after Shrubbie had rented it was a bit like an industrial archeology exercise, as we found quite a lot of brickwork from the old gasworks.
  5. This is the Pontus excavation near to Lappeenranta in Finland. There were a number of schemes to link the lakes and the Baltic by a navigable waterway. This was the best route, and the Saimaa Canal finally joined the lake system to Vyborg, now in Russia, in the late 1840s. I have attached a photo of one of the three rise locks, this one almost next to the small canal museum at Lappeenranta.I have also attached a translation of a Finnish description of the Pontus excavation, which was undertaken at the same time as the first canal and lock was built in Sweden. Pontus excavation.pdf
  6. This is another little-known European canal project. The photo shows the remains of the beginning of a cutting for a canal excavated in 1608. There is a railway embankment crossing it in the background. It was the second attempt at building this canal, the first one dating from the 1550s. The canal was finally constructed inn the 1840s, rebuilt in the 1960s, and is still in use today.
  7. The photo shows the Mellingburger Locks, near Hamburg, on the river and canal connection between the Elbe and Lübeck, known as the Alster-Beste-Kanal. Proposed in 1448, it was finally completed in 1529, but lasted as a through route for just 21 years, though the lower section on the river Alster was still in use as a navigation into the 20th century.
  8. As a through waterway it only lasted a few years, but this end remained in service into the 20th century. It is not in France, where waterway development only really got going after Leonardo da Vinci was kicked out of Italy and was granted a safe haven by the King of France. This waterway pre-dates that.
  9. Looks like just the sort of thing to catch your lines.
  10. The earliest locks may have predated photography, but the one which I illustrated previously still survives, as this 1996 photo shows.
  11. There was certainly much discussion about the use of trees at the time canals were being built. On the Canal du Midi plane trees were planted along the towpath. In sunnier climes, it was thought the benefit of the shade reducing evaporation outweighed the trees extraction of water from the ground. It shaded canal users as well. In this country, the planting of trees was more about providing a supply of timber for lock gates, etc. I would say that embankment and cutting design was the major civil engineering development in the late 18th century. Most canals built around 1770 went out of their way to avoid the need for their construction. Brindley's first canal, the Bridgewater, did have several large embankments, and I suspect he had so much difficulty in their construction that his later canals avoided such work like the plague. By the 1790s, canal engineers were much more confident, and there was sometimes access to more money as the economic benefit of canals had been recognised. The L&LC in East Lancashire, built at this time, has eight high embankments and one cutting, while the earlier canal was very much a traditional contour canal, certainly on the Yorkshire side. Embankment technology was also greatly improved by the problems of building the Grand Canal across bogland in Ireland, where both Smeaton and Jessop struggled to find the answers. Although little was written on the subject at the time, the engineers of the time were certainly able to understand about different types of soil, and how that affected stability. Many embankments were kept clear of tree growth, whilst some used trees to stabilise the slopes. On Ludwig's Canal in Bavaria, the slopes were planted with fruit trees to improve the local economy.
  12. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was Summit Boats based at Finsley Gate, Burnley.
  13. Waterways Journal vol 19 has an article about Abbott's boats. David Brown has been, and is still I think, one of CRT's reservoir engineers, particularly those on the L&LC. As a young BW engineer, he did live on board, I think in the early 1980s. In these days of rapid staff turnover, it is nice to know that there are still people with a longterm commitment to their job.
  14. This was one of the earliest European developments towards building a chamber lock, but where is it, and when was it built?
  15. L&LC boat planking was made from a variety of woods, as seen in the 1898 specification. The bow and stern planking was 2 inch oak, with some planks twisting almost 90 degrees over around eight feet, as these boats had to carry maximum tonnage and fit into a lock, and have a shape which could be steered easily on a comparatively shallow canal. Wooden wide canal boats were some of the finest, if not the finest, examples of boat building in this country.
  16. Basically, I think we are agreed that its OK on a single gate narrow canal, but not suitable for mitre gates.
  17. That is a little simplistic. With a single gate, when a boat hits, all its force is on the top frame of the gate, so acting on the wood's weakest direction. With mitre gates, the forces are split, with some being in the same direction as with a single gate, but a significant amount goes into the lock side. Forces on the sill act in a similar fashion, only they are also fixed to the stonework or concrete of the sill. I would suggest that strapping on a wide lock would not be effective as it would cause the boat to hit the lock side with greater force than if strapped from the lock side. Even then, this caused significant damage, still visible on many L&LC locks. The photo shows the wear on Wigan Top Lock from a lifetime being hit by loaded boats being strapped into the lock. Strapping on mitre gates would also be likely to cause more damage to a mitre gate being closed as it was taking a load for which it was not designed. Both gates need to be shut before water is allowed to fill the lock, with the mitre supporting the gates as the lock fills. This was particularly so on the bottom gates of locks where subsidence was a problem, as at Wigan Top Lock. Although not so problematic on upper gates, there would still be the load created by stopping around 65 tons, if the boat was fully loaded with 50 tons. There is a lot going on when strapping a boat, but generally it is reasonable on a narrow canal with single top gates, but less acceptable where there are mitre gates.
  18. Ex-L&LC boatman, only an ex because sadly he died recently, Alan Holden produced good drawings for someone with little training.
  19. They certainly strapped boats into locks on the L&LC, with cast iron bollards provided, Unfortunately, the wear caused considerable grooves to appear, often forming sharp edges. On the 4 August 1939, the strap rope used a boatman on the Wharfe whilst descending Wigan Locks caused the damage seen below. Strapping using the lock gates is not mentioned in the 1875 Byelaws. I do recall a similar event on the MSC when a vessel lost power whilst entering one of the locks. They did try to stop the boat by a strap rope, but that snapped as a result of internal friction heating the rope so much that it melted.
  20. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 10 posts to view.
  21. I did sort out the origins of the three remaining A&CN flyboats, of which Pauline is one. The two files below give details of most of the A&CN boats, one showing the fly and general cargo boats, the other showing the tugs and compartments. I probably have more details as I have copies of the Castleford gauging books, but have not done any significant work on them. ACNFleet.pdf ACN boats.pdf
  22. Historically, canal engineer almost always thought and calculated in lockfulls, which made it much easier for non-engineering people to understand what was happening. After writing an historical account on Winterburn Reservoir, I did suggest the BWs water engineers that they should revert to this method of measurement, but to no avail. On researching the report, it was interesting to note that canal-related discussion used lockfulls, while the compensation water required by other authorities to keep Eshton Beck flowing, was in engineering units.
  23. We use one of these https://www.screwfix.com/p/kontrol-streamline-moisture-trap-1ltr/4159h to keep an unheated toilet free from condensation. I was skeptical when I bought it, but it works pretty well, and no power is needed, just replacement absorbent blocks.
  24. A couple of photos of Result at the Ulster F&T Museum in 1979. As a child, I lived next to Garston Docks, and remember Arklow-based sailing ships, such as Result or De Wadden, visiting to load coal for Irish ports. The last photo shows the coal loading tips in 1979, by which time I suspect there were no more Irish sailing vessels in use, though they did continue with motor boats, such as the Olive of Newry, seen here at Partington.
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