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Harecastle Tunnel Booking System

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Haven't been through since it was introduced, but can't really see it being a problem. Things change, constantly, if you look on a long enough timescale. Many people don't like the idea of change, it makes them uncomfortable, but one day the change will become normality. You can either choose to embrace it and enjoy, realising how insignificant the impact of the change really is on your life, or you can keep looking back at what was and make yourself feel ever so slightly better for a few minutes by moaning about how good it used to be. 

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5 hours ago, matty40s said:

(snip)

It took us almost 4 1/2 hours to get through Foxton this August...not too many boats,  just incompetent lockies flooding the middle from the top as they let water down.

HTF did they manage that? 

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1 hour ago, John Wareing said:

I’ve been both ways through the tunnel this year under the new system. Both times I emailed a few days before and got a more or less immediate response confirming my requested time. One of those was at 6.30pm on a Sunday.

This is my problem with the booking system.

 

1.  I was told to book as early in my trip as possible.

2.  My style of boating doesn't make saying where I will be and at what time easy.

3.  I try to avoid a hard and fast schedule when boating, for a number of reasons.  I find it more enjoyable like that and with a crew of all over 70 and some not in the best of health things can come up which dealy you.  Under the old system you turned up and the longest you had to wait was 2 transits of the tunnel (even if they had just closed the doors.   People on the forum have been held back to the next day if the arrived too early or too late.   That really messes up a cruise when you are only out for a set time.

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2 hours ago, John Wareing said:

I’ve been both ways through the tunnel this year under the new system. Both times I emailed a few days before and got a more or less immediate response confirming my requested time. One of those was at 6.30pm on a Sunday.

 

There were 4 and 3 boats through so anyone turning up on spec would have got through as well. This was in Aug/Sept so peak time.

 

In previous years just turning up we have often had to wait much longer to get through.

But if you turn up without a booking on spec, do you get let through?

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2 hours ago, John Wareing said:

I’ve been both ways through the tunnel this year under the new system. Both times I emailed a few days before and got a more or less immediate response confirming my requested time. One of those was at 6.30pm on a Sunday.

 

There were 4 and 3 boats through so anyone turning up on spec would have got through as well. This was in Aug/Sept so peak time.

 

In previous years just turning up we have often had to wait much longer to get through.

Depends who's on the door. Boats turning up on spec have been told to book and wait till the next day. Some of the guys are helpful, some are jobsworths. And if volunteers, are going to stick to the letter because of inexperience.

Not really a problem for me as it's the start and end of a cruise, but it's unnecessary and irritating.

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16 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Depends who's on the door. Boats turning up on spec have been told to book and wait till the next day. Some of the guys are helpful, some are jobsworths. And if volunteers, are going to stick to the letter because of inexperience.

Not really a problem for me as it's the start and end of a cruise, but it's unnecessary and irritating.

I am not an early starter so going north I moor at the tunnel overnight, but going south I have no desire to moor at the tunnel mouth overnight so I have to allow time to do locks before I get to the tunnel, this means starting around 2 hours before my normal cruising hours, not something I enjoy doing.  

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3 hours ago, John Wareing said:

I’ve been both ways through the tunnel this year under the new system. Both times I emailed a few days before and got a more or less immediate response confirming my requested time. One of those was at 6.30pm on a Sunday.

 

There were 4 and 3 boats through so anyone turning up on spec would have got through as well. This was in Aug/Sept so peak time.

 

In previous years just turning up we have often had to wait much longer to get through.

This is what I found as well. On my southbound passage a few weeks ago, I had to postpone my booking several times as I was trapped the wrong side of the then closed Bosley locks. In every case the response was very prompt confirming my booking. I've found it very easy to use.

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On 16/10/2020 at 08:10, Captain Pegg said:

It may not be required but it’s seemingly impossible to avoid.

 

Having waited for four hours to ascend Foxton and two hours to descend Watford a few weeks ago I’d sooner book so I knew what was in store.
 

JP

The problem with any booking system is how long will CRT allow for each passage.  I regularly pass through Harecastle in 32 minutes with a full length ex working boat (and about the same time with a loaded coal boat).  Others can take an hour.  If CRT set up bookings based on worst case scenario then tunnel capacity will be much reduced and extra delays will be endemic in summer.

 

As an example of what can happen, just look at the now reduced capacity of Anderton lift compared with how many boats could have passed with a free flowing system.

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Having just read the letter from CRT again I notice they say they have had very few complaints about the booking system.   So if you feel the system was better as it was do please tell them.  I know it will make no difference but then at least they can't truthfully say they have had few complaints.

 

How many feel the next step after booking is going to be charges.

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5 minutes ago, Jerra said:

Having just read the letter from CRT again I notice they say they have had very few complaints about the booking system.   So if you feel the system was better as it was do please tell them.  I know it will make no difference but then at least they can't truthfully say they have had few complaints.

 

How many feel the next step after booking is going to be charges.

They are already charging for the Lift....you have to book so you have to pay....Ive made my thoughts on this known repeatedly to CRT management..I wont be surprised if they introduce charges for harecastle....Its sad the cut is becoming a theme park where you have to pay for the exciting bits rather than a navigation.

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3 minutes ago, Jerra said:

Having just read the letter from CRT again I notice they say they have had very few complaints about the booking system.   So if you feel the system was better as it was do please tell them.  I know it will make no difference but then at least they can't truthfully say they have had few complaints.

 

How many feel the next step after booking is going to be charges.

Quite likely, I should think. Charges for any manned facility. Our free usage of Anderton, I suspect, will never come back. They already charge for mooring at Llangollen, which sets a precedent for charging for moorings at any town centre. It'll be like the Caravan Club system - book your pitch and don't moor anywhere else.

Wandering about with a rucksack and a tent used to be the norm when I was a kid,now it's virtually illegal, and they even have a name for it, same as they do for swimming anywhere unpatrolled. Buggering about in boats used to be fun, now you need email, phone and a stopwatch. 

I'm quite glad, really, that I'm not going to be doing this for much longer.

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4 minutes ago, frangar said:

They are already charging for the Lift....you have to book so you have to pay....Ive made my thoughts on this known repeatedly to CRT management..I wont be surprised if they introduce charges for harecastle....Its sad the cut is becoming a theme park where you have to pay for the exciting bits rather than a navigation.

I would agree and it seems boaters may be their own worst enemy as CRT can sit back and say "we haven't had many complaints".

1 minute ago, Arthur Marshall said:

 

Wandering about with a rucksack and a tent used to be the norm when I was a kid,now it's virtually illegal,

Not virtually illegal it is illegal, certainly up here in the Lakes it is.   That doesn't stop it though.

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2 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Quite likely, I should think. Charges for any manned facility. Our free usage of Anderton, I suspect, will never come back. They already charge for mooring at Llangollen, which sets a precedent for charging for moorings at any town centre. It'll be like the Caravan Club system - book your pitch and don't moor anywhere else.

Wandering about with a rucksack and a tent used to be the norm when I was a kid,now it's virtually illegal, and they even have a name for it, same as they do for swimming anywhere unpatrolled. Buggering about in boats used to be fun, now you need email, phone and a stopwatch. 

I'm quite glad, really, that I'm not going to be doing this for much longer.

I rarely agree with many of your posts, but in this case I think you are 100% correct.

 

Times are changing, boaters either

move off C&RT waters,

accept & evolve or

'die out'

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30 minutes ago, Jerra said:

Having just read the letter from CRT again I notice they say they have had very few complaints about the booking system.   So if you feel the system was better as it was do please tell them.  I know it will make no difference but then at least they can't truthfully say they have had few complaints.

 

How many feel the next step after booking is going to be charges.

The booking system is a good one and seems to work well, its just that we dont need a booking system, full stop

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10 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

The booking system is a good one and seems to work well, its just that we dont need a booking system, full stop

Unless people tell them it will remain (it probably will any way) but at least they couldn't pretend boaters want it.

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When they make booking madatory as they have at harecastlewhat order do the boats go in the tunnel, those who booked first at the front or in the order they arrived (assuming same time slot) This would apply at foxton and watford as well.

We had great fun a few years back at Foxton, there were several of us waiting at the bottom (we were number 3) booked in with the lockie. As the last boat came out of the down batch, a new arrival steered straight in with a grin, what perfect timing! there was a 5 minute hiatus with the lock keeper and the first boat owner and eventually the new arrival backed out (shame the queue was to big for him that batch). Without a lock keeper, who had flatly refused to let him touch any lock gear, the rule of the jungle would apply.

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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I rarely agree with many of your posts, but in this case I think you are 100% correct.

 

Times are changing, boaters either

move off C&RT waters,

accept & evolve or

'die out'

We may be different in our politics, but over boating (which is more important as we have some control over it) I don't think we disagree much!

31 minutes ago, Detling said:

When they make booking madatory as they have at harecastlewhat order do the boats go in the tunnel, those who booked first at the front or in the order they arrived (assuming same time slot) This would apply at foxton and watford as well.

Random, as far as i could tell. Just in the order they arrive, with an occasional juggle at the whim of the gatekeeper or request of a boater. Anything else would be a bit chaotic.

In other words, exactly as it worked without a booking system...

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3 hours ago, furnessvale said:

The problem with any booking system is how long will CRT allow for each passage.  I regularly pass through Harecastle in 32 minutes with a full length ex working boat (and about the same time with a loaded coal boat).  Others can take an hour.  If CRT set up bookings based on worst case scenario then tunnel capacity will be much reduced and extra delays will be endemic in summer....

This is the critical point.  More work (for boaters, and for either paid staff or volunteers) but a less efficient system.  My guess is that they allow an hour's transit time, so only take bookings in any one direction at 2-hour intervals.  Anyone just mising their booked slot, or turning up on spec, may now have to wait 2 hours, when previously the typical wait might have been 90 minutes.

 

Do they let any waiting boats go "early" once they know it is clear?

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28 minutes ago, Cheese said:

This is the critical point.  More work (for boaters, and for either paid staff or volunteers) but a less efficient system.  My guess is that they allow an hour's transit time, so only take bookings in any one direction at 2-hour intervals.  Anyone just mising their booked slot, or turning up on spec, may now have to wait 2 hours, when previously the typical wait might have been 90 minutes.

 

Do they let any waiting boats go "early" once they know it is clear?

correct on the hour each way but the two times we have been through it was half an hour early

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4 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Quite likely, I should think. Charges for any manned facility. Our free usage of Anderton, I suspect, will never come back. They already charge for mooring at Llangollen, which sets a precedent for charging for moorings at any town centre. It'll be like the Caravan Club system - book your pitch and don't moor anywhere else.

Wandering about with a rucksack and a tent used to be the norm when I was a kid,now it's virtually illegal, and they even have a name for it, same as they do for swimming anywhere unpatrolled. Buggering about in boats used to be fun, now you need email, phone and a stopwatch. 

I'm quite glad, really, that I'm not going to be doing this for much longer.

Surely the Llangollen moorings are off line so equivalent to mooring at any marina? Not the same as a towpath town centre mooring. 

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7 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Surely the Llangollen moorings are off line so equivalent to mooring at any marina? Not the same as a towpath town centre mooring. 

I think that the Towpath moorings on the approach to Llangollen have to be paid for as well.

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23 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Surely the Llangollen moorings are off line so equivalent to mooring at any marina? Not the same as a towpath town centre mooring. 

Don't forget you get free electric as well.

 

16 minutes ago, Pie Eater said:

I think that the Towpath moorings on the approach to Llangollen have to be paid for as well.

Yes you do but I can't remember if you get electric on these too.

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22 minutes ago, Pie Eater said:

I think that the Towpath moorings on the approach to Llangollen have to be paid for as well.

Are they still free in the winter?

including free hook up?

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30 minutes ago, Pie Eater said:

I think that the Towpath moorings on the approach to Llangollen have to be paid for as well.

Correct, I haven't moored there since it was introduced. I don't object to paying to be in a marina or basin, thats my choice, but I don't intend to pay for a towpath mooring. As for free electricity I have no use for it.

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10 minutes ago, Flyboy said:

Don't forget you get free electric as well.

 

Yes you do but I can't remember if you get electric on these too.

From memory (its a while since I was up there) I think there were elec points on at least some towpath moorings.

Edited by Jerra

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