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Unlock Runcorn- The Runcorn Ring


sueanddaren
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Many of you will be aware that there has been a wish to reopen the  Bridgewater canal link to the Manchester Ship Canal, for a very long time. Not much more than a dream...till now!

The demolition of the silver Jubilee Bridge approach road has made the dream a reality.

Outline planning permission has been applied for and a consultation process begun.

We plan a lift, some traditional locks and an inclined plane, along with visitors centre etc.

If you visit Runcorn Locks Restoration Society website, you will find links to a leaflet, explaining the project and also a link to a survey.

http://unlockruncorn.org/

We would like to hear the opinions of boaters aswell as local residents so please will you have a look and fill in the survey online.

For those of you who are local, there will be an opportunity to find out more by attending our open day on Monday 31st August. 11.00-2.00, at Percival lane, Runcorn, WA7 4UY, where there will be guided walks of the project area.

For further updates, we are on facebook too.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/unlockruncornsupporters

plan view.jpg

  • Greenie 1
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I've done the survey - I'd love to see the link built in some form but I do wonder why a mix of locks, inclined plane and vertical lift have been chosen? Is there a technical problem with simply replacing the locks 

 

At Falkirk, for example, the original line of the locks had been lost and a replacement line didn't really suit a lock flight - there were good technical reasons for a lift.

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7 minutes ago, magpie patrick said:

I've done the survey - I'd love to see the link built in some form but I do wonder why a mix of locks, inclined plane and vertical lift have been chosen? Is there a technical problem with simply replacing the locks 

 

 

Probably tourist money and local development linked to the project. Theres locks everywhere, who would have gone to Falkirk to see a restored flight....

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This all feels just too ambitious, not one boat lift but two! It would make more sense to just restore the locks unless there is a problem with obstruction/levels. I can see that they want to create a tourist attraction but its going to be a very expensive one to build.

I have done the MSC Ellesmere to the Weaver and it was a big expensive thing.  Track down and wait for surveyor,.... in the end after much delay had to book a distant one and pay big travel expenses. Then talking to MSC was hard work, they don't answer phone and you can't visit. In the end two weeks work and about £200 all in.

The whole project depends on access to a privately owned waterway that is not really interested in leisure boating.

Runcorn is a very interesting place for canal history types but not really a tourist destination.

 

..................Dave

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Oh my God! What a dog's breakfast of a scheme!

 

The old locks are still there, just infilled. Digging them out will be simple and relatively low cost. Any that have been damaged can be rebuilt using conventional techniques.

 

A boat lift and inclined plane will be hugely expensive to build, operate and maintain - exactly the reasons the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust had to abandon their plans to reinstate the Foxton incline.

 

They claim locks are wasteful of water, yet their scheme includes 2 locks which will require water to be let down past the lift and incline, or incur the cost of back pumping. And anyway, the Bridgewater is not short of water - it receives water from the other canals connecting into it which presumably runs to waste at present.

 

This scheme looks to me to be unfundable and doomed to failure. Just keep it simple!

Edited by David Mack
  • Greenie 1
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I know it's hard to believe but there have been extensive surveys done and just restoring the original locks was actually ridiculously expensive. This option is the one recommended by the engineers and surveyors. It also has the backing of some big players for funding. Digging over 2000 miles of canals by hand seemed impossible and doomed to failure but......

There are always people who say it can't be done and then there's people who just get on and do it anyway.

16 hours ago, magpie patrick said:

I've done the survey - I'd love to see the link built in some form but I do wonder why a mix of locks, inclined plane and vertical lift have been chosen? Is there a technical problem with simply replacing the locks 

 

At Falkirk, for example, the original line of the locks had been lost and a replacement line didn't really suit a lock flight - there were good technical reasons for a lift.

Thanks, You are right, we're following guidance to get best result here.

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24 minutes ago, sueanddaren said:

I know it's hard to believe but there have been extensive surveys done and just restoring the original locks was actually ridiculously expensive. This option is the one recommended by the engineers and surveyors. It also has the backing of some big players for funding. Digging over 2000 miles of canals by hand seemed impossible and doomed to failure but......

There are always people who say it can't be done and then there's people who just get on and do it anyway.

Thanks, You are right, we're following guidance to get best result here.

Sorry, but whoever is guiding you to a scheme like this has an axe to grind somewhere. Probably hoping for a load of work downstream and reluctant to kill a goose that might lay golden eggs.

 

It can no doubt be delivered, because capital is relatively easy to come by. It is coughed up by people whose job is to think regeneration is achieved by new, clever and expensive building projects.  The hard part is finding a long term income to keep the simple bits going, as well as the unnecessary complications

 

There are not many possibilities for long term management.  CRT are unlikely to take it on without a substantial endowment and an annual payment- they know what Anderton costs to run and maintain, don't forget.  That endowment will not come from the  capital funds, and any annual contribution from users alone won't go near the costs.  CRT manage the Rochdale for the local councils on this basis, broadly.  How is that working out?

Peel will not touch it with a very long stick unless it can be made to make money.  So that and freight, water supply or tourism.  Forget freight.    As a tourist attraction it competes with Anderton.  That does not make money, even though it is principally a modern hydraulic lift wrapped up in a Victorian/Edwardian structure.  Can't see much money in water supply either.

 

  The local councils have neither money nor expertise.

 

A volunteer body might make it work for a few years  but will struggle to build up the cash reserves to deal with a major breakdown.  With both a lift and a plane the likelihood of problems is more than doubled.

 

The whole scheme needs a really hard headed looking at.

 

N

  • Greenie 2
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Such an idea of connecting to the Manchester Ship Canal is in itself questionable. But to do so with a lift; an inclined plane; and a set of locks? To do what - reach the bottom just to turn around and come back up?

 

It's a recipe for financial failure mid term and long term. Wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

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4 hours ago, sueanddaren said:

I know it's hard to believe but there have been extensive surveys done and just restoring the original locks was actually ridiculously expensive. This option is the one recommended by the engineers and surveyors.

 

OK. Please can you tell me where the various technical reports covering these surveys, the consideration of various alternative solutions, and the reasons for the final recommendations are published, either on the unlockruncorn website or elsewhere.

 

You will need a robust paper trail if you are to stand any chance of getting these proposals funded, so the supporting reports should be available for scrutiny.

 

4 hours ago, sueanddaren said:

It also has the backing of some big players for funding.

 

And can you also point me to the evidence for this statement.

Edited by David Mack
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I have to agree that this scheme is ridiculously complicated and would turn out to be a money pit. As already said the MSC don’t like pleasure boats and make it difficult to use so I think the idea of making money out of a trip boat is very doubtful.

From the little information giving on the web site the inclined plane would finish in the ship canal!

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19 hours ago, BEngo said:

 

Sorry, but whoever is guiding you to a scheme like this has an axe to grind somewhere. Probably hoping for a load of work downstream and reluctant to kill a goose that might lay golden eggs.

 

It can no doubt be delivered, because capital is relatively easy to come by. It is coughed up by people whose job is to think regeneration is achieved by new, clever and expensive building projects.  The hard part is finding a long term income to keep the simple bits going, as well as the unnecessary complications

 

There are not many possibilities for long term management.  CRT are unlikely to take it on without a substantial endowment and an annual payment- they know what Anderton costs to run and maintain, don't forget.  That endowment will not come from the  capital funds, and any annual contribution from users alone won't go near the costs.  CRT manage the Rochdale for the local councils on this basis, broadly.  How is that working out?

Peel will not touch it with a very long stick unless it can be made to make money.  So that and freight, water supply or tourism.  Forget freight.    As a tourist attraction it competes with Anderton.  That does not make money, even though it is principally a modern hydraulic lift wrapped up in a Victorian/Edwardian structure.  Can't see much money in water supply either.

 

  The local councils have neither money nor expertise.

 

A volunteer body might make it work for a few years  but will struggle to build up the cash reserves to deal with a major breakdown.  With both a lift and a plane the likelihood of problems is more than doubled.

 

The whole scheme needs a really hard headed looking at.

 

N

 

That's where the marina comes in. Long term revenue.

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8 minutes ago, sueanddaren said:

 

That's where the marina comes in. Long term revenue.

A relatively small basin with limited revenue. 

I'm sure most marinas take enough revenue to cover the costs of their construction, but I very much doubt they produce anything like the level of surplus necessary to support the long term operation of what is proposed here.

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15 minutes ago, sueanddaren said:

 

That's where the marina comes in. Long term revenue.

The marina will require boats to use a lift everytime they go cruising, plus a longish cruise down the Runcorn Arm which to be brutally honest does not have a reputation for pleasant boating. Its also in an urban setting in a Northern town. It will not be popular with leisure boaters so will be in danger of becoming a moderately down market residential basin. You can get a mooring in a much much nicer place up North for less than a £1000 per year. This will not be a big money spinner.

 

I would love to see those locks restored and a little marina but don't think this plan is the way to do it.

 

.................Dave

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The counterpoint to this is that I would pay to use an inclined plane on my boat.

 

Probably only once each way, but I would.

 

I'm also interested in the thinking behind the Runcorn ring boat trip.  Use our little boat lift and locks and then we'll take you through some big locks and a big boat lift that already run a trip boat...

 

If there is demand for this trip route it could already be running one way each time, the way the Mersey ferry does the Liverpool to Salford run.  You wouldn't even need a coach to bring the passengers back to the other end.  A short walk up or down the hill gets back to the starting point.

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3 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

The counterpoint to this is that I would pay to use an inclined plane on my boat.

 

Probably only once each way, but I would.

 

I'm also interested in the thinking behind the Runcorn ring boat trip.  Use our little boat lift and locks and then we'll take you through some big locks and a big boat lift that already run a trip boat...

 

If there is demand for this trip route it could already be running one way each time, the way the Mersey ferry does the Liverpool to Salford run.  You wouldn't even need a coach to bring the passengers back to the other end.  A short walk up or down the hill gets back to the starting point.

Is it a boat trip or just a new cruising ring? It’d be a very long day out.

 

The illustrations in the brochure are a bit limited but it doesn’t appear that the lift or the inclined plane have counterbalanced caissons which would mean they’d need to be powered. That can’t be right.

Edited by Captain Pegg
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27 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Is it a boat trip or just a new cruising ring? It’d be a very long day out.

 

The survey asks how much you'd consider paying for a trip boat round the ring.  I did think it would be a very long trip, but reckoned it might be worth £50, as that's the cost of the MSC trip on the Mersey Ferry including the coach back to your starting point.

 

I agree that if the lift and plane aren't counterbalanced it would be bad engineering, but it doesn't need an opposing caisson, just a counterweight of the same mass as the full caisson.  It does more than double the transit time per boat though.

 

They are quoting 2 hours for the lift, 2 locks and the inclined plane, so that needs adding to the trip timing, along with delays at the tunnels and the wait for the Anderton lift plus the locks...

 

 

Edited by TheBiscuits
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40 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Is it a boat trip or just a new cruising ring? It’d be a very long day out.

 

The illustrations in the brochure are a bit limited but it doesn’t appear that the lift or the inclined plane have counterbalanced caissons which would mean they’d need to be powered. That can’t be right.

Working on a study of Foxton Inclined Plane about twenty years ago the M&E guy was happy a standard industrial winch could yank the caisson up the hillside without a counterbalance - had that ever progressed the proposal was to make it LOOK counterbalanced but the caissons could have operated independently.

 

A non-counterbalanced vertical lift is a different proposition altogether

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12 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

The survey asks how much you'd consider paying for a trip boat round the ring.  I did think it would be a very long trip, but reckoned it might be worth £50, as that's the cost of the MSC trip on the Mersey Ferry including the coach back to your starting point.

 

I agree that if the lift and plane aren't counterbalanced it would be bad engineering, but it doesn't need an opposing caisson, just a counterweight of the same mass as the full caisson.  It does more than double the transit time per boat though.

 

They are quoting 2 hours for the lift, 2 locks and the inclined plane, so that needs adding to the trip timing, along with delays at the tunnels and the wait for the Anderton lift plus the locks...

 

 

Aha, that shows I didn’t do the survey.

 

You could probably make an elegant enough inclined plane without the weights being visibly cumbersome but I’m less sure about the lift. I’m probably missing the obvious again though.
 

I hope these things won’t be the concrete lumps the illustration implies. It could be sold better, assuming they will look better!

 

Just can’t see that being a viable day trip. More a hotel boat. Better hope they can afford their own moorings.

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, magpie patrick said:

Working on a study of Foxton Inclined Plane about twenty years ago the M&E guy was happy a standard industrial winch could yank the caisson up the hillside without a counterbalance - had that ever progressed the proposal was to make it LOOK counterbalanced but the caissons could have operated independently.

 

A non-counterbalanced vertical lift is a different proposition altogether

So maybe I hadn’t entirely missed the obvious as pointed out by Mr Biscuits. Wouldn’t a standard industrial winch be powered by an electric motor? I assume you didn’t mean manual. Maybe turn it with a water wheel to save energy ?

 

JP

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2 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

So maybe I hadn’t entirely missed the obvious as pointed out by Mr Biscuits. Wouldn’t a standard industrial winch be powered by an electric motor? I assume you didn’t mean manual. Maybe turn it with a water wheel to save energy ?

 

JP

Three phase electric! Manual winch would be part of the strategy to counter obesity.... ;) 

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22 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

You could probably make an elegant enough inclined plane without the weights being visibly cumbersome but I’m less sure about the lift. I’m probably missing the obvious again though.

 

The Anderton lift is two independent caissons with their own counterweights now.  It was originally built as a balanced pair of course, but they can and do only use one side sometimes.

 

I'm sure the plane could be made to work without a counterweight, but it would be a lot less efficient.  The Falkirk Wheel visitor centre take great pleasure in telling people it only takes 1.5 kWh to do a rotation, similar to boiling a few kettles, as part of their eco messaging.

 

Yanking a caisson uphill full of water would take a lot more power than that, and a regenerative braking system for the descent probably wouldn't get most of the energy back each trip.  Less green credentials and costs more to run.

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3 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

The counterpoint to this is that I would pay to use an inclined plane on my boat.

 

Probably only once each way, but I would.

 

I'm also interested in the thinking behind the Runcorn ring boat trip.  Use our little boat lift and locks and then we'll take you through some big locks and a big boat lift that already run a trip boat...

 

If there is demand for this trip route it could already be running one way each time, the way the Mersey ferry does the Liverpool to Salford run.  You wouldn't even need a coach to bring the passengers back to the other end.  A short walk up or down the hill gets back to the starting point.

I would do it too, and do the "ship canal ring" but almost certainly only once.

 

I often think about trip boats and how long a trip is viable before the public get bored. There is a Dudley tunnel ring trip which is quite long, but I always note that the Anderton lift boat goes almost to Northwich then turns back, whilst going up under the swing bridges, past various interesting moored boat near the drydock and turning below Hunts lock would be a much nicer trip. There must be a good reason for keeping this trip short. There are big days out on the ship canal, and the Danny, but these are much bigger boats were you can walk about and maybe have a drink.

 

.............Dave

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