LEEDS & LIVERPOOL
ALTHOUGH ACCESS DELAYS meant the original target opening date was missed, the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool has reopened following the £500,000 replacement of a collapsed culvert carrying a stream under the canal bed.
Because the original wooden culvert was beyond repair, replacement pipes had to be laid in the canal bed, but work couldn’t start without a fish rescue, an ecology survey, Environment Agency approval, installation of a site compound and allowance for machinery access.
It was the last of these that took the most time, thanks to the need for negotiations with Network Rail to take heavy plant over a level crossing. Work finally got under way in time for a re-opening on 24 September – reconnecting the route to the Ribble Link and the Lancaster Canal. Four of the craft affected by the closure had already been trapped by the earlier emergency stoppage by the Lune Aqueduct on the Lancaster; the Canal & River Trust arranged for them to be lifted around the stoppage.