Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A good dollop of winter wood, and down onto the river.

We spent the weekend near Barnton, then yesterday moved the mile or so to the services at Anderton.

A fine morning…

We made a stop on the way… Not far up the canal the recent winds had dropped a tree across the navigation, and the contractors had left some logs just off the towpath. I’d kept my eye on them while we moored over the weekend and they were still there so we pulled in. It’s a good, wide towpath here, so I sliced them up too, as well as some other bits and pieces I’d picked up over the last week or so. A satisfying couple of hours work, but I’ve got to get my saw chains sharpened now. The last one went dull while I was dealing with these heavy logs.

We turned around and reversed onto the service wharf to fill with water and dispose of accumulated rubbish and recycling. The service block is having a make-over, but the water was still on.DSCF1573

Having dealt with the sanitary arrangements we returned to moor near the boat lift.

Very quiet in Anderton at the moment

Moored on the 24 hour moorings at Anderton.20171023_153515
That wood should last a week or two!

We’ve decided to spend a week or 10 days down on the Weaver before heading south and then west over towards the Llangollen Canal. So this morning I went to the office and was given a booking for 11:30, sharing with Martin on the coal boat Halsall.

Halsall turning onto the holding moorings this morning.DSCF1578

And leaving to turn onto the lift aqueduct.DSCF1579

Waiting on the aqueduct for entry onto the lift proper.DSCF1580

Looking upstream, the new mooring pontoon is completely empty.DSCF1581

At 72 feet long, Halsall only just fits between the end gates.DSCF1582
In fact, Martin had to lift both bow and stern fenders!

The lift, as constructed in 1875, was hydraulically operated using river water. But the corrosive nature of the water took it’s toll on the hydraulic rams, and by 1897 the lift suffered longer and longer periods of maintenance and repair. Finally, in 1904, the Weaver Navigation Trustees faced considerable expense and downtime to replace the hydraulic system, or look for alternatives.
The company Chief Engineer, John Saner, proposed a radical solution whereby the hydraulics would be replaced by a system of pulleys, electric motors and counterbalance weights. Although this involved extensive modifications to the structure, his scheme was approved. The conversion took place over a two year period, opening fully again in July 1908. As each caisson could now be independently operated, the lift was only completely closed for 49 days during this period.

The machinery deck, carrying the electric motors and pulleys, was added…DSCF1583

…as were buttress frames to the main supports.DSCF1586
The buttresses were required because now the structure had to support the two caissons, each weighing around 250 tons, and their counterbalancing weights. Under hydraulic operation the framework merely had to guide and contain the caissons, and support it’s own weight, as the load from the caissons was carried by the hydraulic cylinders built into the foundations.

There was a bit of as delay before we could leave, something to do with the safety interlocks, I think, but then we were off, both boats turning upstream.

We pulled in on the pontoon, while Halsall continued on to supply some customers above Hunts Lock.

We’ll probably continue upstream tomorrow.

Locks 0, miles 2

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