Smethwick Pump House – open days in 2015.

Smethwick Pump House with the Aaron Manby moored alongside

Smethwick Pump House with the Aaron Manby moored alongside

The Galton Valley Canal Museum will again be open on the second Saturday of the month from March to October this year, from 10:00 to 15:00.
These dates are:-
14th March
11th April
9th May
13th June
11th July
8th August
12th September
10th October
The Museum will also be open alongside the BCNS Bonfire Rally.

Learn more about it on The Friends of Galton Valley Museum Facebook page.

Worcester Bar aqueduct leakage

Having put the coffer dams in, C&RT set about pumping out the water.

Pumping the water out.

Pumping the water out.

 

 

Fish Rescue - and loads of film crews.

Fish Rescue – and loads of film crews.

 

 

 

 

 

Come Sunday morning and the fish rescue started.  There was an amazing number of film crews and photographers about (including me).

The weather was definitely damp.  I think the guys in the canal were probably the driest people there!

Fish rescued, pumps off, more work tomorrow.

Fish rescued, pumps off, more work tomorrow.

 

Fish rescue complete, the pumps turned off, waiting for work to start on Monday.

Gas Street Basin stoppage (continued)

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Isn’t the water lovely!

Midnight last night (19/20 Feb), it was clear that the pump was not coping with the leakage in through the emergency stop gates.  I was told that the plan was to stanch off  the section from Worcester Bar almost to Salvage Turn.

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Assembling the staunch.

 

This morning, the work started on the coffer dam.

Though those guys are in decent dry suits, rather them than me.  

 

The stop gate that caused the problem - finally wedged shut.

The stop gate that caused the problem – finally wedged shut.

 

In addition to the pump in the workboat just behind the stop gate, there are now two larger pumps beside the footbridge, ready to start go.

To clarify exactly where the aqueduct / tunnels are, I have taken a photo of the 1899 10 foot to the mile ordnance survey map, and marked out the two rail tunnels (the one to Midland Railway’s Worcester Wharf  goods yard, the MR Birmingham and West Suburban line (the current main line to the West Country) and Holliday Street tunnel.

Salvage Turn Tunnels

 

Isn’t the detail on maps of this scale amazing!  Click on the image to see it in more detail.

 

 

 

Exploring the part completed coffer dam!  (or you see why CRT put up barricades when the work was finished!)

Exploring the part completed coffer dam!
(or you see why CRT put up barricades when the work was finished!)

 

The frames were left in, to be completed on Saturday.

 

The tunnel that the aqueduct runs over - five ways end.

The tunnel that the aqueduct runs over – five ways end.

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside the tunnel – you could hear but not see the water flowing from the leak.

 

Water flowing from the tunnel

Water flowing from the tunnel

Emergency stoppage at Gas Street – continued

Will only take a moment to close the gate

Will only take a moment to close the gate

Having moved the boats that wished to go out of the Worcester & Birmingham side of the basin, the next thing was to shut the emergency gates, in preparation for pumping out the cut.

The tug came up from Granville Street bridge, and closing the emergency gate would only take a moment.

Snag – though the gate in the Worcester Bar had been checked this morning, it certainly wasn’t moving now.

When I nod my head, hit it!

When I nod my head, hit it!

Get a bigger hammer!

Across several hours, from about 16:30 to 21:30 and continuing – the gate has been moved about a foot!

At least the gate has moved a few inches - maybe even a foot!

At least the gate has moved a few inches – maybe even a foot!

 

 

 

 

Still, the pump is ready to go as soon as the gate is shut.  It looks like being a long night for some.

Pump all ready to go.

Pump all ready to go.

Emergency stoppage at Gas Street

CRT tug moving a land rover

CRT tug moving a land rover

 

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.

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CRT engineer and her assistants!

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)

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Frederick being moved from one side of the bar to the other.

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.

Atlas – winter maintenance continues

Our secretary showing he can hold an angle grinder as well as a pen!

Our secretary showing he can hold an angle grinder as well as a pen!

Today we took some angle grinders to wire brush the rust and grunge off the hull below the rubbing strake, and applied a coat of bitumen.

Blacking on the starboard side nearly finished

Blacking on the starboard side nearly finished

Next Saturday there will be another work party to finish the blacking, and do some preparation work on the cabin sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitting the new gunwales

Fitting the new gunwales

Tony Friar welding in the new gunwales

Tony Friar welding in the new gunwales

Meanwhile Tony Prior was cutting and fitting the new steel gunwales.

BCN Society Spring Cruise – Saturday 11 April

We are running an informal Spring Cruise on 11 April.

Meet up with your boat by Sea Life Centre / Deep Cuttings Junction in Birmingham.

Travel around Oozels Loop, out onto the Main Line and into Icknield Port Loop then across the Main Line into Soho Loop passing the entrance to Hockley Port towards Smethwick then ascend the locks to the Engine Arm and stop for a bring your own lunch.

There is an option to cruise to the end of the Engine Arm turning with care – this is a residential mooring so consideration must be given.

then descend Smethwick Locks to return to Birmingham.

On return to Birmingham many of us will visit  The Prince of Wales pub at the rear of the ICC

For those staying in Birmingham Saturday night we will be booking a table at the Cafe Rouge, Brindley Place.

The cruise will be free, but to help with organisation, please send in this application form.

If there is enough demand, we will produce a plaque.

Atlas – winter maintenance

Atlas - showing gunwales in need or replacement.

Atlas is due some maintenance.  Age and weather has been taking its toll.  The gunwales around the cabin side have rotted, as is obvious in this photo taken during the autumn.Atlas on the slip

So she has been pulled out of the water for the work to be done.

What is interesting is that it shows that the current cabin is the second, if not the third.

The original will have been a wooden cabin, aft of a steel engine room.  The current cabin is added aft of the engine room, and simply sat on the wood, secured fore and aft, but unsecured, sitting on the wood in between.  There is lead sheet running from the cabin side, on the inside, going over the gunwale in the same manner as lead flashing is used on house roofs.

The wood needs to be replaced by steel, and the cabin will then be secured to the boat over its entire length.

While out of the water, we will be blacking her – all assistance welcome.  Contact me for details.