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POSTPONED UFN Canal History Workshop: Developments of Internal Combustion Transport

Saturday, March 28, from 09:30 to around 17:00

Historic Bolinder engine

The Developments of Internal Combustion Transport on British Navigations


With canal and river navigations, the use of the internal combustion engine proved to be an immense asset in keeping trade on the waterways in the face of railway competition and a growing use of road transport.

The waterways offered a new challenge for the engineers and the means of translating the technology already available in stationary engines into a compact size small enough for use to power a narrow boat.

Whilst internal combustion was used in canal craft, river craft and along the estuary, it was the design of motors for the narrowboat that was most challenging. Early technology came to be adapted to fit semi- diesel engines to narrowboats, but later engineering techniques had been improved to enable diesel engines to be installed in boats.

It is this time line of development, which will form the basis of the talks, as well as the relationship with steamer design that preceded the diesel engine.

There will be four talks related to the following topics. Time will be available for discussion at the end of each session.

There will be four talks related to the following topics, following morning coffee and an introduction by Martin O Keeffe. Delegates to arrive 09.30-10.00.

1030- 1130 Steamer development on the Waterways

1130- 1230 Early internal combustion engines and Semi Diesel engines in canal craft


1400-1500 Tugs on inland waterways

1500- 1600 The development and use of diesel engines in inland waterway craft in Britain

A buffet lunch and tea/coffee will be provided

Cost £10.00 (Cheques payable to the BCN Society)

Bookings to Martin O Keeffe
10 Meadowcroft
Shropshire SY13 1BD

Email: hecla@hotmail.com


Saturday, March 28
09:30 to around 17:00


Martin O’Keeffe
01948 666168


Titford Pump House
Engine Street
Oldbury, West Midlands B69 4NL United Kingdom
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