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March of the Widebeams


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8 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Has anybody observed it passing through a lock yet?

 

This would help resolve the debate about its beam...

 

It certainly doesnt look wider above the waterline than below in this photo, as asserted earlier in the thread. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Leo No2
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10 hours ago, Capt Ahab said:

I saw this beast of a boat making its way through Cosgrove today. Apparently it is at the absolute maximum size for the canal structures (except the bridge on Stockton Brook it turned out). You can see its bulk compared to the working boat it is about to pass (hit). All the handing characteristics you mentioned were apparent. It just wouldn't steer straight and the poor old bow thruster was grinding away all the time, in fact I could hear it half a mile away and even using it constantly the boat twisted and turned and looked virtually uncontrollable. This is a brand new boat on its maiden journey heading for London - and the paintwork is wrecked already. It may be physically possible to float it south, but the the crew didn't seem to be enjoying the experience one bit. 

IMG_4148.JPG

It must have been going at a fair-lick.

Its even going to fast for the camera to get a focus

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38 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

It must have been going at a fair-lick.

Its even going to fast for the camera to get a focus

 

I think you misunderstand.

 

The boat was built out of focus, which is why they thought it would fit under Blue Lias....

 

?

 

 

Edit to add: 

 

Curious name. Seems to be a tense of the Latin verb "absum" meaning to absent - to withhold from being present.

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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17 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

No its  the second derivation of asbo.

 

Absumus (absence of coherent thought)

asbomus ( antisocial act)

asbo (outcome)

 

Are you sure that ASBO is not :

 

"Anti Social Boating Order"

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Interesting points raised in respect of the design, construction, maintenance and mooring of the channel by @frangar and @Mike Todd.

 

The GJC was engineered by William Jessop who had previously worked on canals and canalised rivers in the North East. He amended the original proposals for the GJC to a channel of 42’ wide at the surface, 28’ wide on the bottom and a depth of 4’ 6” to enable the canal to accommodate small river barges.

 

I note that nobody has yet challenged my premise that these dimensions are generic for the whole length of the canal. However @alan_fincher did offer the narrow channel through Tring cutting as a reason for different usage either side of Berkhamsted. Add to that the even more restrictive nature of Blisworth and Braunston tunnels plus the lack of any one large, or concentration of smaller, commercial centres beyond the Home Counties and it becomes apparent why barge traffic north of Berkhamsted never caught on. It must though be the case that this was due to commercial considerations as well as, or perhaps rather than, physical ones. Did anyone else think that @Ray T‘s photograph of a widebeam in it’s ‘natural’ home could have been a picture of any Midlands narrow canal without the boat in the picture?

 

Over the years maintenance and repair practice will have developed in response to usage and we end up 200 years later with a canal that presents difficulties for wide beam craft (at least ones that are at the physical limits, designed for intended use on larger waterways and have inexperienced crew). Mooring is an interesting one because there is a clear paradox. Does the ability to pass two boats take precedence over someone’s ability to moor? Historically the answer would clearly be “yes” other than at a recognised operational location. Today we tend put the onus on being able to pass even alongside a moored boat.

 

The number of wide beams is increasing and CRT has a legal duty to maintain the GU so they can technically make passage. If the divisive attitude between narrow and wide beam boaters continues it will develop into a situation that results in an environment in which everyone is worse off.  I’m no fan of widebeams but the arguments used against them have worn thin for me and ultimately I support boating full stop. So instead of continuing with the simplistic lines and amusing comments what is to be done to improve the current situation?

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg
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10 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Has anybody observed it passing through a lock yet?

 

This would help resolve the debate about its beam...

 

I might have a wander down to Iron Bridge Lock on Tuesdayish although the chances of catching it are a bit remote.

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1 hour ago, Captain Pegg said:

Interesting points raised in respect of the design, construction, maintenance and mooring of the channel by @frangar and @Mike Todd.

 

The GJC was engineered by William Jessop who had previously worked on canals and canalised rivers in the North East. He amended the original proposals for the GJC to a channel of 42’ wide at the surface, 28’ wide on the bottom and a depth of 4’ 6” to enable the canal to accommodate small river barges.

 

I note that nobody has yet challenged my premise that these dimensions are generic for the whole length of the canal. However @alan_fincher did offer the narrow channel through Tring cutting as a reason for different usage either side of Berkhamsted. Add to that the even more restrictive nature of Blisworth and Braunston tunnels plus the lack of any one large, or concentration of smaller, commercial centres beyond the Home Counties and it becomes apparent why barge traffic north of Berkhamsted never caught on. It must though be the case that this was due to commercial considerations as well as, or perhaps rather than, physical ones. Did anyone else think that @Ray T‘s photograph of a widebeam in it’s ‘natural’ home could have been a picture of any Midlands narrow canal without the boat in the picture?

 

Over the years maintenance and repair practice will have developed in response to usage and we end up 200 years later with a canal that presents difficulties for wide beam craft (at least ones that are at the physical limits, designed for intended use on larger waterways and have inexperienced crew). Mooring is an interesting one because there is a clear paradox. Does the ability to pass two boats take precedence over someone’s ability to moor? Historically the answer would clearly be “yes” other than at a recognised operational location. Today we tend put the onus on being able to pass even alongside a moored boat.

 

The number of wide beams is increasing and CRT has a legal duty to maintain the GU so they can technically make passage. If the divisive attitude between narrow and wide beam boaters continues it will develop into a situation that results in an environment in which everyone is worse off.  I’m no fan of widebeams but the arguments used against them have worn thin for me and ultimately I support boating full stop. So instead of continuing with the simplistic lines and amusing comments what is to be done to improve the current situation?

 

JP

Well unless widebeam owners fancy funding it with at least a 100% if not 200% increase in THEIR licence fees I suggest a 7ft width restriction consisting of some steel piles at Berko would ease the situation some what....If they are to be allowed where does it stop...should we widen tunnels...maybe extend the locks on the L & L to allow full length narrowboats to use that popular waterway? 

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18 minutes ago, frangar said:

Well unless widebeam owners fancy funding it with at least a 100% if not 200% increase in THEIR licence fees I suggest a 7ft width restriction consisting of some steel piles at Berko would ease the situation some what....If they are to be allowed where does it stop...should we widen tunnels...maybe extend the locks on the L & L to allow full length narrowboats to use that popular waterway? 

The answer to both points is the same; it stops with the law.

 

It would take an act of parliament to enable your proposed solution and one to make a permanently binding change to the maximum craft dimensions.

 

I don't believe anyone is lobbying for enlargement of key structures on any existing canals. There is a desire to connect north and south wide waterways by other means which in itself could create issues north of Berkhamsted (and probably south of truth be told). The issue at stake here is how to - or perhaps how to legitimately not - accommodate wide beam boats on waterways that are currently legally obliged to be maintained for such. By paying licence fees wide beam owners are paying for that capability be that knowingly or unknowingly. It doesn’t cover their needs in isolation, but neither does anyone else’s licence fee. Targeting specific groups of boaters for abnormal licence fees may set some unintended precedents. For starters it would compel CRT to adopt a very different maintenance regime and set of priorities.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg
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I thought the fat boat might have got to about this point ............ and had begun to speculate ...............

 

Notice Alert

Grand Union Canal
Starts At: 010
Ends At: 010

Saturday 20 July 2019 15:30 until further notice

Type: Navigation Closure 
Reason: Information


 

Update on 21/07/2019:

 

Navigation is now open.

The sunken craft has been recovered

 

Original message:

 

Soulbury 3 locks is closed to navigation until further notice due to a sunken craft

Recovery of the craft is being planned.

Updates to follow

You can view this notice and its map online here:
https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notice/15743/soulbury-3-locks-locks-24-26

You can find all notices at the url below:
https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices

 

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6 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

Interesting points raised in respect of the design, construction, maintenance and mooring of the channel by @frangar and @Mike Todd.

 

The GJC was engineered by William Jessop who had previously worked on canals and canalised rivers in the North East. He amended the original proposals for the GJC to a channel of 42’ wide at the surface, 28’ wide on the bottom and a depth of 4’ 6” to enable the canal to accommodate small river barges.

 

I note that nobody has yet challenged my premise that these dimensions are generic for the whole length of the canal. However @alan_fincher did offer the narrow channel through Tring cutting as a reason for different usage either side of Berkhamsted. Add to that the even more restrictive nature of Blisworth and Braunston tunnels plus the lack of any one large, or concentration of smaller, commercial centres beyond the Home Counties and it becomes apparent why barge traffic north of Berkhamsted never caught on. It must though be the case that this was due to commercial considerations as well as, or perhaps rather than, physical ones. Did anyone else think that @Ray T‘s photograph of a widebeam in it’s ‘natural’ home could have been a picture of any Midlands narrow canal without the boat in the picture?

 

Over the years maintenance and repair practice will have developed in response to usage and we end up 200 years later with a canal that presents difficulties for wide beam craft (at least ones that are at the physical limits, designed for intended use on larger waterways and have inexperienced crew). Mooring is an interesting one because there is a clear paradox. Does the ability to pass two boats take precedence over someone’s ability to moor? Historically the answer would clearly be “yes” other than at a recognised operational location. Today we tend put the onus on being able to pass even alongside a moored boat.

 

The number of wide beams is increasing and CRT has a legal duty to maintain the GU so they can technically make passage. If the divisive attitude between narrow and wide beam boaters continues it will develop into a situation that results in an environment in which everyone is worse off.  I’m no fan of widebeams but the arguments used against them have worn thin for me and ultimately I support boating full stop. So instead of continuing with the simplistic lines and amusing comments what is to be done to improve the current situation?

 

JP

Given the very restrictive amount of money available for maintenance which means that tough priorities need to be set, push the debate too far and the only option for CaRT will be to seek means (legit or barely so) to reduce the dimensions of allowable craft to the existing state of the waterway and to deny a licence to anything outside those limits.

5 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

The answer to both points is the same; it stops with the law.

 

It would take an act of parliament to enable your proposed solution and one to make a permanently binding change to the maximum craft dimensions.

 

I don't believe anyone is lobbying for enlargement of key structures on any existing canals. There is a desire to connect north and south wide waterways by other means which in itself could create issues north of Berkhamsted (and probably south of truth be told). The issue at stake here is how to - or perhaps how to legitimately not - accommodate wide beam boats on waterways that are currently legally obliged to be maintained for such. By paying licence fees wide beam owners are paying for that capability be that knowingly or unknowingly. It doesn’t cover their needs in isolation, but neither does anyone else’s licence fee. Targeting specific groups of boaters for abnormal licence fees may set some unintended precedents. For starters it would compel CRT to adopt a very different maintenance regime and set of priorities.

 

JP

Create a 'temporary' restriction order that just happens never to be lifted. If CaRT argued in court that they did not have money to restore a wider navigation, then I doubt whether a court would find against them.

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7 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Given the very restrictive amount of money available for maintenance which means that tough priorities need to be set, push the debate too far and the only option for CaRT will be to seek means (legit or barely so) to reduce the dimensions of allowable craft to the existing state of the waterway and to deny a licence to anything outside those limits.

Create a 'temporary' restriction order that just happens never to be lifted. If CaRT argued in court that they did not have money to restore a wider navigation, then I doubt whether a court would find against them.

I read the onwardsman's report on the case of wide boats on the North Oxford. I fare that CRT are letting a pimple grow into a boil before trying to treat it

Edited by ditchcrawler
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2 hours ago, Mike Todd said:

Given the very restrictive amount of money available for maintenance which means that tough priorities need to be set, push the debate too far and the only option for CaRT will be to seek means (legit or barely so) to reduce the dimensions of allowable craft to the existing state of the waterway and to deny a licence to anything outside those limits.

I'm unsure of exact details as it was before I was born but around the late 60s / early 70s there were a few thames lighters being used on the GU, by all accounts they only just fitted in the locks and had to have rudders turned fully to close gates, after one caused some problems by pulling bollards out when a pound drained amongst other things BW refused to license the craft making them unusable on the canal network.

extremely battered picture shows My father & friends who used to live on one of the lighters holding a local paper with an article about it.

 

scan083.jpg

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2 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

I read the onwardsman's report on the case of wide boats on the North Oxford. I fare that CRT are letting a pimple grow into a boil before trying to treat it

Can you give a location for the report?

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44 minutes ago, Jess-- said:

 after one caused some problems by pulling bollards out when a pound drained amongst other things BW refused to license the craft making them unusable on the canal network.

Where was that? We had a mooring site at the Bulls Bridge end of the Paddington Arm back then and had a couple of converted R. Lea size lighters there which were OK on G.U. locks and they never had any problems with getting a licence. In fact until mid/late 60s BW still towed them at least as far as the timber yard at Uxbridge using their narrow guage tractors.

 

Tam

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13 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Talk about rank stupidity:

 

"We agree that the canal is not suitable for widebeams but we will nothing to stop them"

 

30. Case 1038 was a complaint by a narrowboat owner about widebeam boats using the North Oxford Canal. Although it is designated as a narrow canal, with locks able to accommodate only narrowboats, the seven mile lock-free southern section between Braunston Junction on the Grand Union Canal, and Hillmorton Locks, is often used by widebeam boats. The complainant argued that there was insufficient room and depth for use by widebeam boats, that this raised issues about safety and navigation, and that the Trust should ban them from using it. He also said that the Trust should not have allowed a new marina development to be able to accommodate widebeam boats. 
 
31. While the Trust accepted that the canal was not suitable for such boats, it had decided not to ban their use, although it did say it would keep the situation under review. Its policy position was not a matter that I could question. I had seen no clear evidence of detriment, although I could not say there would not be so in future. I could also not assume that if there were problems in the future, the Trust would not take appropriate action. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jess-- said:

I'm unsure of exact details as it was before I was born but around the late 60s / early 70s there were a few thames lighters being used on the GU, by all accounts they only just fitted in the locks and had to have rudders turned fully to close gates, after one caused some problems by pulling bollards out when a pound drained amongst other things BW refused to license the craft making them unusable on the canal network.

 

After the 400kV cables were installed in the Regents towpath, London IWA persuaded BW to provide bollards above and below each lock, so boaters wouldn't be tempted to bang pins into the towpath.  

Which was fine until someone bringing an unpowered wooden Wey barge up the canal tried to bring the boat to rest by strapping on one of the new bollards. No contest!

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22 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Has anybody observed it passing through a lock yet?

 

This would help resolve the debate about its beam...

 

It certainly doesnt look wider above the waterline than below in this photo, as asserted earlier in the thread. 

The boat in question coming out of Stockton Locks. 

Stockton Locks (60.JPG

22 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Has anybody observed it passing through a lock yet?

 

This would help resolve the debate about its beam...

 

It certainly doesnt look wider above the waterline than below in this photo, as asserted earlier in the thread. 

The boat in question coming out of Stockton Locks. 

22 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Has anybody observed it passing through a lock yet?

 

This would help resolve the debate about its beam...

 

It certainly doesnt look wider above the waterline than below in this photo, as asserted earlier in the thread. 

The boat in question coming out of Stockton Locks. 

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13 hours ago, Tam & Di said:

Where was that? We had a mooring site at the Bulls Bridge end of the Paddington Arm back then and had a couple of converted R. Lea size lighters there which were OK on G.U. locks and they never had any problems with getting a licence. In fact until mid/late 60s BW still towed them at least as far as the timber yard at Uxbridge using their narrow guage tractors.

 

Tam

Knowing my dads haunts I would say theirs was around somewhere between Berkhamsted and Rickmansworth and that another was as far up as Leighton buzzard. since the bit of the headline I can make out is about teenagers (and looking at my dads age in the picture) I would guess at 68/69

theirs was motorised although probably not original, I know it started out with an open hold and slowly changed to wood / canvas top and then wooden top without adding any height because the bare hull only just cleared bridges.

11 hours ago, David Mack said:

 

After the 400kV cables were installed in the Regents towpath, London IWA persuaded BW to provide bollards above and below each lock, so boaters wouldn't be tempted to bang pins into the towpath.  

Which was fine until someone bringing an unpowered wooden Wey barge up the canal tried to bring the boat to rest by strapping on one of the new bollards. No contest!

I wonder if this was the one that caused BW to stop allowing them to be licensed, as the story sounds similar enough (bollards pulled out) for it to have been twisted a little by the towpath telegraph

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I can remember when "Scout" was still at Cowroast and more to the point I remember it leaving......... ;)

 

 

 

Edited by Loddon
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I saw this beast going down the Nottingham and Beeston canal towards Trent bridge a few weeks back. I guess they must have turned round and gone back down the GU. Thing is much more appropriate for the river. Moorhen nests seemed to be intact. If you are going to splurge that much cash on a new dutch barge, why not one with a nice chined hull so you can play on the lumpy stuff a bit?

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1 hour ago, oarfish said:

I saw this beast going down the Nottingham and Beeston canal towards Trent bridge a few weeks back. I guess they must have turned round and gone back down the GU. Thing is much more appropriate for the river. Moorhen nests seemed to be intact. If you are going to splurge that much cash on a new dutch barge, why not one with a nice chined hull so you can play on the lumpy stuff a bit?

I must be a bit dozier than usual today. How would a wide beam get from the GU to the Trent and back without being craned?

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