TROUBLES CONTINUE AT MARPLE…
No sooner had Marple Locks finally reopened after an eight month closure for the complete rebuilding of one side of Lock 15, than problems were discovered with another lock chamber wall – resulting in a further short closure and width restrictions on boats using the 16-lock flight on the Peak Forest Canal.
The opportunity had been taken to carry out work throughout the flight during the enforced closure (see Canal Boat May) including grouting the walls of ten more locks. But despite this (or possibly as a result of it), at Lock 11 it was found that “there appears to have been some movement in the lock wall that could restrict passage for boats over 6ft 10in wide.” After initial limited operation with a width restriction and keepers on duty, a short closure enabled the coping stones to be straightened, but problems deeper down meant more work would be needed – and possibly another full rebuild.
As we went to press, the lock had reopened with supervised operation and limited hours, but boats over 45ft long were restricted to under 6ft 10 beam pending a permanent repair.
…AND IN THE WEST MIDLANDS TOO
A breached culvert has shut a section of the northern Birmingham Canal Navigations system, while problems have also hit the northern Stratford Canal following the very heavy rain in late May.
A loss of water on the Wyrley & Essington was initially blamed on issues with the supply from Chasewater Reservoir, but on investigation it was found that water was disappearing into a stormwater drain passing under the canal (possibly as a result of the drain bursting following a rainwater surge) at Teeces Bridge. The Canal & River Trust told Canal Boat that it would be “a significant job to repair”, but that in the meantime it would be possible to pump water past the closure to maintain the supply from Chasewater to other canals.
The canal remains open on either side of the stoppage, which is between Pelsall ( junction with the Cannock Extension) and Birchills Junction (where the Walsall joins), and Severn Trent Water has now accepted ownership of the culvert and responsibility for repairs.
Meanwhile on the northern Stratford, the very heavy rain led to bank slips both on a canal embankment at Lady Lane Wharf and on the banks of Earlswood Reservoir. In both cases the damage is largely superficial and hasn’t closed the canal, but repair costs could total £¼m to £½m.