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In the days when all the double locks on the T&M were working, I came up from Middlewich with another singlehander. Whoever got to locks first would set both and whoever got there last would close the other gates. Never got to Stoke so fast. If one of us got held up by someone coming the other way, we just waited for the catch up.

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15 hours ago, magnetman said:

Not sure if anyone mentioned it already but the "close the gates" thing is an old BW strategy to attempt to cover up maintenance failures. 

 

A well maintained system will not require this unnecessary intervention. 

 

Sometimes there will be locks with unusual leakage maybe due to bits of wood jammed against the cill and you have to keep an eye on  this but reducing all boaters intelligence and knowledge levels to the lowest common denominator will eventually cause problems. 

 

It's a very handy way to cover up a lack of proper maintenance though, to be fair. 

 

Close gates pounds don't go low no complaints. Leave gates open pounds go low people start discussions and wonder why it happens...

 

 

That historical view may or may not be true - it may just be that the old canal companies just did not have the network-wide opportunity to put across significant messages. (Boaters probably could/would not read notices anyway!)

 

However, it seems abundantly clear that in some cases (there are plenty, plenty of reports of pounds draining overnight when even just a single paddle has been left open) closing up everything is a simple way of maximising the chances that the next pound you arrive at will have sufficient water in it to navigate. Filling a single pound will soon outweigh the possible benefit of many many gates open on arrival.

 

Also have to remember that back in those halcyon days there were no lock ladders and if you drove a boat straight in then there was either quite a scramble up the top gate or use of the technique of letting the boat run in on its own with the consequent wear and tear the result of steerers misjudging the momentum. Most things in life have both downs as well as ups.

 

But the more important point is that the amount of money to spend on maintenance is not going to get any larger anytime soon and may well go the other way. Best to get used to conservation techniques now before it is too late to change socially unacceptable habits.

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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

(there are plenty, plenty of reports of pounds draining overnight when even just a single paddle has been left open)

There would be no such occurrences if the locks were properly maintained. Leave one paddle up, or one gate open, and there would be no leakage. And contrary to what many CRT press releases say, it is totally impossible for a passing boater to accidentally leave a lock with a gate open at one end and a paddle open at the other.

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12 minutes ago, Keeping Up said:

There would be no such occurrences if the locks were properly maintained. Leave one paddle up, or one gate open, and there would be no leakage. And contrary to what many CRT press releases say, it is totally impossible for a passing boater to accidentally leave a lock with a gate open at one end and a paddle open at the other.

The system is not going to be properly maintained, and conventions have to be agreed to cope with the fact. Half the time, leakage is so extreme that it doesn't need a paddle left up to half fill a lock, although on bits of the cut the vandals do it for fun.

Ifs are pointless, we just need to try to keep the thing going for a few years yet. The only way there will be a functioning navigation in fifty years time is if climate change forces them to be used for transport again. A lot of stuff has been done by EU grants, and I can't see them being replaced by governmental generosity when money could be a bit tight in the next few years.

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31 minutes ago, Keeping Up said:

There would be no such occurrences if the locks were properly maintained. Leave one paddle up, or one gate open, and there would be no leakage. And contrary to what many CRT press releases say, it is totally impossible for a passing boater to accidentally leave a lock with a gate open at one end and a paddle open at the other.

No it isn't impossible.

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3 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

The system is not going to be properly maintained, and conventions have to be agreed to cope with the fact. Half the time, leakage is so extreme that it doesn't need a paddle left up to half fill a lock, although on bits of the cut the vandals do it for fun.

Ifs are pointless, we just need to try to keep the thing going for a few years yet. The only way there will be a functioning navigation in fifty years time is if climate change forces them to be used for transport again. A lot of stuff has been done by EU grants, and I can't see them being replaced by governmental generosity when money could be a bit tight in the next few years.

I agree 100% with what you say, and also have always followed the convention of closing gates and paddles behind me. In return I expect at least a little bit of consideration by CRT in fulfilling their duty to maintain the waterways to a reasonable standard for navigation.

 

Closer to the original topic, in the last few years I have become exasperated by the ever-increasing number of boaters who have said to me that they don't close gates or paddles behind them because "I'm single-handed so I can't" or "I'm disabled so I can't" or "with my boat it's not safe to try to stop". All of these actually translate as "I'm too lazy". The last of these excuses was repeatedly stated on this forum a few years ago by a poster who had a widebeam on the Grand Union.

2 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

No it isn't impossible.

Please tell me how

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17 hours ago, magnetman said:

Not sure if anyone mentioned it already but the "close the gates" thing is an old BW strategy to attempt to cover up maintenance failures. 

 

A well maintained system will not require this unnecessary intervention. 

 

Sometimes there will be locks with unusual leakage maybe due to bits of wood jammed against the cill and you have to keep an eye on  this but reducing all boaters intelligence and knowledge levels to the lowest common denominator will eventually cause problems. 

 

It's a very handy way to cover up a lack of proper maintenance though, to be fair. 

 

Close gates pounds don't go low no complaints. Leave gates open pounds go low people start discussions and wonder why it happens...

 

 

Maintenance failures or the reality that the threshold to which a network used for leisure purposes should rightly be maintained is lower than that which applies for commercial purposes to ease the financial burden on society?

 

JP

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12 minutes ago, Keeping Up said:

 

Please tell me how

 

Its easy if intentionally done.

 

Fill lock, tie top gate 'open', lift paddle on bottom gate - top gate cannot be 'sucked' closed.

 

Accidentally - I cannot see it either.

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56 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Maintenance failures or the reality that the threshold to which a network used for leisure purposes should rightly be maintained is lower than that which applies for commercial purposes to ease the financial burden on society?

 

JP

There are already 3 levels of maintenance defined for the differing categories of waterways - these are actually defined by Law.

 

An example of the statutory dimensions for some of 'cruising waterways' is shown below.

Screenshot (247).png

Screenshot (248).png

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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2 hours ago, Mike Todd said:

That historical view may or may not be true - it may just be that the old canal companies just did not have the network-wide opportunity to put across significant messages. (Boaters probably could/would not read notices anyway!)

I'm not sure how far back we have to go to arrive at "history" in your view, but when you introduce "old canal companies" then yes - canals were certainly regularly maintained to ensure there were no hold-ups for the user. Even if 'history' only goes back to when I started canal boating in the late 50s, if you exclude those canals eventually defined as "remainder", canals in general were better maintained than at present.

There did used to be lock keepers and lengthsmen of course, but the users were more aware too. Time was money, so locks got a lot of hard use - all sorts of techniques which are now regarded almost as vandalism. Nevertheless there is a difference between hard use and abuse, and everyone was aware that if a lock was out of order everyone suffered.

 

Perhaps there ought to be a canal boatman's proficiency test before anyone is allowed to go boating  😃

 

Tam

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20 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

There are already 3 levels of maintenance defined for the differing categories of waterways - these are actually defined by Law.

 

We've tried throwing Fraenkel at them on several occasions - never got very far though as they just ignore it.

 

Tam

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2 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

In the days when all the double locks on the T&M were working, I came up from Middlewich with another singlehander. Whoever got to locks first would set both and whoever got there last would close the other gates. Never got to Stoke so fast. If one of us got held up by someone coming the other way, we just waited for the catch up.

We work the same on the doubled ones

17 minutes ago, Tam & Di said:

 

 

Perhaps there ought to be a canal boatman's proficiency test before anyone is allowed to go boating  😃

 

Tam

Sir, I have a piece of paper.🔄

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47 minutes ago, Tam & Di said:

 

We've tried throwing Fraenkel at them on several occasions - never got very far though as they just ignore it.

 

Tam

 

The problem for us with C&RT is that the transfer documents from BW to C&RT specifically say (words to the effect) that if C&RT do not have the money to maintain the waterways then they are not legally obliged to. Does this override the legislative requirements (as shown in the Fraenkel report) and detailed in an earlier Waterways Act - who knows ?

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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3 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Its easy if intentionally done.

 

Fill lock, tie top gate 'open', lift paddle on bottom gate - top gate cannot be 'sucked' closed.

 

Accidentally - I cannot see it either.

I have seen it a good number of times - nearly done it myself. (The form of my previous comment was deliberate to see how many people have really been around . . . )

 

Especially on narrow canals, some bottom paddles may not be letting much through whilst the top ones do a great job. (If the first paddle used does not seem to be working - ie it lifts but not much happens - then it is usual to go try another, perhaps leaving the first one only partly up, such that it is not easy to see that it is not fully closed. Then finish the lock and forget to go back to close the first paddle)

 

The sign for a moderately experienced boater is waiting for the lock to fill and for it seem to be reluctant to do the last bit. This can lead some, not checking the other end, to get an extra helper to shove the top gate a bit more and it just cracks enough for the lock to level out and for the boater to go on their way. In some cases the extra help comes in the form of an engine! (Of course this can be necessary even without a paddle being open at the other end such as when the upper pound is over-topping the gate) 

 

Boater then leaves gate open and overnight the pound is emptied. It is surprising how quickly a pound can empty with only a modest flow - not just the very short ones.

 

Same things can happen going the other way. In fact, with narrow locks and two bottom gates it can be easier to do.

2 hours ago, Tam & Di said:

 

We've tried throwing Fraenkel at them on several occasions - never got very far though as they just ignore it.

 

Tam

No-one can force a company to spend money they do not have, whatever the regs might say.

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2 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Same things can happen going the other way. In fact, with narrow locks and two bottom gates it can be easier to do.

Thankyou, never seen it myself and we always look at the top of the paddles (the 'serrated bars') and make sure they are down

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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

Thankyou, never seen it myself and we always look at the top of the paddles (the 'serrated bars') and make sure they are down

cant remember the flight but every lock the far end paddle was one click up, unless you walk the length of the lock you wouldn't see it.

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3 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Ifs are pointless, we just need to try to keep the thing going for a few years yet. The only way there will be a functioning navigation in fifty years time is if climate change forces them to be used for transport again. A lot of stuff has been done by EU grants, and I can't see them being replaced by governmental generosity when money could be a bit tight in the next few years.

I'm sure you're right about post-Brexit funding, but I don't agree with your de-facto acceptance. Very few people are interested in history; newcomers to canals see them as they are when they start boating and are unaware that they were ever better. If todays users accept that they just have to prop up a system which is falling to bits things will only ever get worse. Pressure has to be kept on C&RT - C&RT probably won't do much, but sure as Hell if there is no pressure C&RT will definitely do nothing. In that respect and thinking back on the changes 1970-2020 your expectation of 50 years is overly optimistic.

 

Tam

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24 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Thankyou, never seen it myself and we always look at the top of the paddles (the 'serrated bars') and make sure they are down

We did have the advantage of learning how to boat by example of the working boat people, but I just don't recognise Mike's scenario. There certainly did get to be paddles left partially open, especially once it became the norm to wind them gently down rather than drop them (albeit in a slightly gentle manner), but we just had to assume that all paddles were left in this state at each lock and deal with it.

 

Going up in a lock someone would always look over the bottom gates to check how tight they were, and going downhill it was obviously easy to see if the top gates leaked. If either of those leaked we would shut gates behind us. It seems as if boating is being brought down to the lowest common denominator.

 

Tam

Edited by Tam & Di
clarity
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As a relative newcomer to the canals, with only a little over 50 years experience and slightly less than 20,000 lockings completed, I am very grateful to receive a little bit of elementary education from someone who has "really been around" as much as Mike has.

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Closing all gates and paddles has been a general rule (which means there are exceptions) since the early 1970's if not before - it was certainly common practice in my earliest memories of narrow canals, which would have been about 1970. As I understood it the problem wasn't initially lack of maintenance it was the people did leave paddles open - not fully, just enough to waste a lot of water. In addition once busy canals were quieter and as a result if a mistake was made it could take a while for the next boater to arrive and correct it

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3 hours ago, Keeping Up said:

As a relative newcomer to the canals, with only a little over 50 years experience and slightly less than 20,000 lockings completed, I am very grateful to receive a little bit of elementary education from someone who has "really been around" as much as Mike has.

But then I've never been on a big ship cruise!

 

I never suggested that I had been around more than others but I was expecting someone to say it cannot be done, when I know full well that it can and has been the cause of water loss. Not every boater is equally experienced but anyone's mistake can have equally serious consequences.

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1 hour ago, magpie patrick said:

Closing all gates and paddles has been a general rule (which means there are exceptions) since the early 1970's if not before - it was certainly common practice in my earliest memories of narrow canals, which would have been about 1970. As I understood it the problem wasn't initially lack of maintenance it was the people did leave paddles open - not fully, just enough to waste a lot of water. In addition once busy canals were quieter and as a result if a mistake was made it could take a while for the next boater to arrive and correct it

Closing all gates wasn't a general rule on the southern waterways in the early 1970s although dropping the paddles was.  I recall my father saying that the practice differed around a particular point/line.  But I can't remember where it was - and if I could, it would only to lead to arguments.  It would make some sense as the southern GU, Thames, Lee, Medway, Kennet and Wey are rarely short of water.  The southern Oxford might be an exception.

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1 minute ago, Tacet said:

Closing all gates wasn't a general rule on the southern waterways in the early 1970s although dropping the paddles was.  I recall my father saying that the practice differed around a particular point/line.  But I can't remember where it was - and if I could, it would only to lead to arguments.  It would make some sense as the southern GU, Thames, Lee, Medway, Kennet and Wey are rarely short of water.  The southern Oxford might be an exception.

I could be wrong but I have a vague feeling that the changeover point was Berkhamstead, which of course was also the point at which it nominally changed from being a broad canal to being a narrow canal (note that this does not refer to the widths of the locks or the bridge holes but to the width of the deepest part of the navigation channel).

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2 minutes ago, Keeping Up said:

I could be wrong but I have a vague feeling that the changeover point was Berkhamstead, which of course was also the point at which it nominally changed from being a broad canal to being a narrow canal (note that this does not refer to the widths of the locks or the bridge holes but to the width of the deepest part of the navigation channel).

That would make sense as its river fed below there, I seem to think it was the summit but not sure.

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