I’m sharing these photos publicly because I imagine a vanishingly small number of people have ever watched a canal lock gate being replaced. Let alone watched said activity from a bedroom window.

Last week, a crew from the Canal and Rivers Trust (CART) arrived to begin work on “our” canal lock. Obviously it doesn’t belong to us, but we feel a certain sense of pride in it since our cottage is right next to it. The canal lock gate was last replaced in 1996. According to the CART engineer who visited us a couple of months ago to tell us about the impending work, the gates, which are almost entirely made of oak, including the large posts about which they rotate, have a maximum lifetime of twenty years. After that, not only will the gate have warped despite mostly remaining submerged, but often the posts give way. The post on ours had developed a large, destabilising crack and no longer rotated properly.

In this photo, the CART crew are setting up a large winch to manoeuvre both the old and new lock gate, arm, and post into position. One of the horses in the field opposite our house is watching them with interest.

The new lock gate is lifted out of the barge and lowered into the canal opposite the old gate.

As is the arm for the new lock gate, which will allow a human standing on the bank to push the gate open and shut.

The old lock gate arm is removed and loaded onto the barge.

The old lock gate is removed.

The new lock gate is ready for installation and the lock now stands full.

A temporary block was put in and the water allowed to drain from the lock. The water levels in the sections just above our lock were also lowered to help the workers install the new gate. I missed the next two days of activity due to being away for work and so when I returned, the new gate was in place and the fencing had been removed. At present, it looks like this:

I presume at some point in future there will be a small amount of further work done to give the new gate the black paint that helps protect it, as well as the smart white paint that goes on the arm.

Since this is an activity that only happens every twenty years, I’m happy I was home to see it!
cmcmck: (Default)

From: [personal profile] cmcmck

It's lovely to see work being done on the cut- it was allowed to decay for so long!
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)

From: [personal profile] redsixwing

How interesting! I live in a desert, so this is totally beyond my sphere of experience. :3 Thanks for sharing!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon

Fascinating, thought I can't help thinking it would have made sense to paint the gate before putting it in the water!
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)

From: [personal profile] major_clanger

I hope that someone isn't looking at a Gantt chart whilst slapping their forehead and going "D'oh!"...

A cautionary tale told to us when I was training as an RAF engineering officer. An aircraft company who shall remain nameless sold us a training aircraft that was a licence-built version of another company's. Their redesign included the following items:

1) A small and inexpensive battery that needed a simple check every week.

2) An ejection seat that in theory needed to be removed for full inspection only every 6 months, such removal and replacement taking a couple of hours by skilled safety equipment technicians and requiring careful independent inspection and counter-signature.

Their redesign meant that in order to check the battery you had to remove and replace the ejection seat.

This was fixed, at considerable cost and effort.
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)

From: [personal profile] silveradept

That's rather neat to see. Actual engineering, indeed.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)

From: [personal profile] askygoneonfire

Interesting! Somehow I could only imagine how to replace a lock gate at the low side of the lock - where you could get the water level down in the lock and then replace gate but obviously, half of all lock gates are at the top/high end so a different approach is needed! I had no idea that they had such [relatively] short life spans either.

Was your cottage originally a lock-keeper's cottage or is it just coincidentally located?