Big de­lays from wa­ter re­stric­tions

Canal Boat - - Letters -

You pub­lished de­tails of the restricted hours of the top and bot­tom lock of the Wi­gan flight, be­cause of wa­ter short­ages.

The hours quoted are sim­ply im­prac­ti­ca­ble. We re­cently went up the Wi­gan flight, start­ing at 9am and only com­plet­ing our exit from the top lock at 6pm. This means that the times given by CRT ( 2pm to 3pm) just do not work, and boats would be trapped in the flight. There are no suit­able overnight moor­ings.

We had a long way to go and so were at­tempt­ing to do the flight as quickly as pos­si­ble, but could not pos­si­bly have com­pleted by 3pm for the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

a) There were boats com­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, which meant ex­tra time wait­ing for them to pass. There were also quite a few go­ing up, so we had some long waits. If times are restricted, this will be ex­ac­er­bated be­cause there will be a lot more boats in both di­rec­tions con­cen­trated into the time win­dow.

b) Although CRT says there are nu­mer­ous vol­un­teers to as­sist with easy pas­sage, there were none to be seen when we came through, even though the weather was good.

c) Our pas­sage was slowed down con­sid­er­ably be­cause of the ex­tremely poor con­di­tion of many of the gate pad­dles and re­lated equip­ment. In­deed, some of them were locked and un­us­able. Some of the gates leaked quite badly, even when all the pad­dles were closed. This meant the locks filled and emp­tied much slower than would be ex­pected.

d) We were also de­layed by the large num­ber of va­grants drink­ing on the locks who took a great deal of ef­fort to per­suade to move, and only the threat of po­lice ac­tion speeded up our progress.

Our frus­tra­tions were added to when we found that the wa­ter fit­tings at the wa­ter point at the top lock were im­pe­rial and did not fit any stan­dard mod­ern equip­ment. CRT says it is aware of this and might get round to chang­ing the fit­ting one day.

It seems the hours of open­ing have been de­signed to suit the con­ve­nience of CRT and that they have not borne in mind the ac­tual needs of boaters. PETER BROWN, via email

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