Surefire Shire workhorse...
TWO DECADES after Barras launched its Shire range of engines, the company has tracked down the first one supplied that’s still in service – and it isn’t just powering an occasional gentle cruise along the cut. It’s seeing more than 1,000 hours’ hard work every year in a trip-boat on the Kennet & Avon Canal.
Passenger boat Rose of Hungerford, run by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, has been operating since 1982, eight years before the canal’s full reopening in 1990. In 1997, its original engine which came “from a crashed ex-London taxi” in the words of Trust chairman Mike Rodd, was replaced with a 40hp Shire which is still in use today.
“The hour meter failed some time ago”, he added, “so it isn’t possible to calculate how many hours service it has given, but given an annual estimate of over 1,000 hours with some years reaching 1,500 hours, it must be something like 20,000 to 30,000.”
Barrus is celebrating its centenary this year.