The buzz went round this afternoon that the Worcester Bar was being shut as an emergency measure, because of a leak in to the disused rail tunnel that used to carry the LMS line from what is now Five Ways station to the old goods yard.
Network Rail (who apparently own this aqueduct) were working on the tunnel, and when they returned to work decided that there was more water in the tunnel than there should have been.
So the emergency gates at Worcester Bar and Granville Street Bridge will be closed as soon as they have moved all of the boats out of the W&B side of Gas Street Basin.
The water will be pumped out as soon as the gates are closed, though the pumping will not be completed today, to avoid the need for a fish rescue. If this level of drainage does not reveal the problem, it will at reduce the risk, with a big drop in water pressure, (and I suppose a lot less water to get out, in the event of a failure occurring despite the reduced water pressure)
Definitely high profile interest – Richard Parry was there within hours of the start of work (mind you he does get pretty much everywhere!) along with two of the senior engineers. One of them even had her assistants! Sod’s law that things like this happen over half term. Despite being on leave, she had come in to help with the work.
As there is no feel at the moment what the scale of the problem is, there is clearly no indication of how long the emergency stoppage will last for. An interesting possibility is that the water coming in to the tunnel is not necessarily from the canal but may be from a water main. However with 38 miles of canal to drain in the event of a breach, they are not banking on that.