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Major Breach on the Rochdale.

John Orentas

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There has been a major breach on the Rochdale Canal which threatens another lengthy closure of the canal only weeks after the re-opening of the waterway following a previous stoppage at Slattocks only a few miles away.


An embankment has failed between the Irk aqueduct and the Rose of Lancaster pub, at Chadderton on the Lancashire side of the canal. It occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, there are no reported casualties.


Nothing is yet known about timescales for repairs, I will keep the forum informed.


P.s. Amicus posted a similar report on the canal yesterday which I believe to be a co-incidence, if it was not he has my apologies.

Edited by John Orentas
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Hmmmm again..........

One wonders if its safe to set foot on this canal!

what with the lock gates what gave way, with 2 boats in the lock chamber, then the other land slide and now a breach.......

certainly adds some excitement to doing a canal, maybe they could get a plate made saying "Completed the Rochdale Canal without Incident!"....

hehehe :(

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Here you go boys & gals: direct from todays BW press release....


A spokesperson for British Waterways said: “In the early hours on Saturday 23rd April there was a breach on the Rochdale Canal between locks 63 and 64 at Chadderton.


An embankment just before a small aqueduct carrying the Rochdale Canal over the River Irk gave way and water from the canal flowed into the river.  There were no injuries and no boaters were directly affected by the incident. 


The towpath has been closed and the area around the breach secured. British Waterways are now conducting ground investigation works.  It is expected that the Rochdale Canal in this area will be closed up to a couple of months. Boaters and waterway businesses have been advised and assistance is being given where requested. “


If anyone would like more info please send me a PM










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"That is going to take some serious repair work! Just at the wrong time too. It will almost certainly be closed for the first part of the summer season".


Jon, we don't know that yet let's wait a week or so. We don't want people cancelling their trips needlessly, that has happened before.

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Yeah, eather side of aqaducts etc are always prone to breaching, becuase the ground just at the end of the stone lined section gets hit much harder and get worn though.


- Should deffonatly been spotted by the mantaince team though!


- This "break-down-mantainace" attitude of BW is really geting boring now.





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Jon, we don't know that yet let's wait a week or so.  We don't want people cancelling their trips needlessly, that has happened before.


:( I'm sure people reading this will not cancel their holidays straight away anyway!!!


And im with Jon on this one!

Edited by Sam
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Thanks Sam, although John has a very valid point... I would suggest that anyone with holidays booked should wait to hear from British Waterways or their hire company if they are hiring. I imagine its must be very high on the list of BW priorities to sort out though.


Not being from an engineering background I am certainly not an expert, but that seems to be an incredible amount of damage! How do they going about repairing something like that? I guess it will need some serious earth moving, levelling, resealing and then refilling.


BTW - whats the source on the pictures?





Edited by Jon
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I am not that kind of engineer either but from past experience, once they get started it will take no more than 4 weeks or so. The problem always is getting started.


That is not a criticism as there are particular problems on the Rochdale with access, both physical and legal. Amazingly it has been discovered that the original owners of the canal, the Rochdale Canal Company where so short sighted in the recent past to have, in some areas sold off the land right up to the edge of the water and with no agreement as to access.


Whether that applies in this case remains to be seen but in any event the canal presents all kinds of unique difficulties with so much of it being on embankments with all the associated stability problems, that coupled with lack of legal status that is common to the rest of the system.

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Amazing photos. A few weeks ago I moored just there on my way round the South Pennine Ring. It seemed a quiet and safe place, away from the pub moorings. Maybe I should have taken it easy with the mooring stakes!


I would be a real shame if trips are cancelled if repairs are expected to drag on. As John suggests, maybe it’s not the time taken to complete the actual structural repair, but just obtaining access before work is started. When I passed down the Slattocks flight some friendly locals told me of the prolonged legal battle over BW engineer access when the previous breach occurred nearby. Interestingly, I noticed that when a patch of woodland was sold on the Macc recently, BW retained a thin slither of land along the offside canal bank, presumably so that access to a culvert below would be guaranteed for potential future maintenance.



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I moored just there a few weeks ago. Maybe I should have taken it easy with the mooring stakes!

Oh dear, i think we've found out culprit people.

- Noah broke the canal with his ruddy mooring stakes. (you idiot)





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The photos shown above were taken by a BW staff member, who was there taking photos at the same time that I was. My own photographs were put online on 24th April and can be seen at www.penninewaterways.co.uk/news18.htm


In reply to an earlier question - yes, there is a problem with access to this site, for the same reason as at the Slattocks site a mile up the canal. However, BW are likely to take steps immediately to secure access this time, as they are now aware of the problem.

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