Saturday, 2 August 2014

Extended Stay

We woke this morning to find the junction pound above Henhurst lock in Wigan had dropped yet another foot.  Yesterday’s decision to reverse down through Henhurst Lock and moor opposite the CRT offices was correct.  Around 8.30am an email from CRT advising the pound was closed due to paddles being left open.  We saw no sign of this and suspect it’s more likely due to the badly leaking gates on Poolstock Top Lock and the fact that the water entering the pound comes from the Wigan flight but can depart either via the Leigh Branch or the route to Liverpool.  Moreover boats coming from Leigh take water from the pound to reach Wigan and then take more water from the pound when turning left to Liverpool.  So there are two problems; an imbalance of boat movements (lock usage) and leaking gates.

CRT have pumps which draw water from the River Douglas to restock the pound, but one had failed.  Apparently when the engineer arrived and attempted to switch to the second pump it also failed.  Local boaters were informed the pumps could only be repaired by removing them with a mobile crane.  This has been arranged for tomorrow.  Wearing my former maintenance planner’s hat I can only conclude there is a failure in the CRT preventative maintenance plan for both primary and reserve pumps to be found defective.

The most obvious solution would have been to raise a top and bottom paddle on the top lock of the Wigan flight thereby allowing more water to run down the flight via the bywashes.  Eventually CRT did this at 4.00pm.  However I noted the volume of water entering the pound from the flight bywash was almost the same as the volume of water leaking out of Poolstock Top Lock on the Leigh Branch.  It will be interesting to see if the water level in the pound has risen much by tomorrow morning. 

CRT have made the decision to close the Leigh Branch in an effort to retain water entering the pound from the flight.  They also invited waiting boaters moored outside their offices to go up the flight as a further means of getting additional water into the pound.  At 4.00pm no boater was interested in attempting to complete the 21 locks in the flight when the transit time is approximately four hours.  I wasn’t even certain we could make it through the pound!

The lock keepers will be back on site at 8.00am tomorrow and we plan to be third in the queue to go up the flight.  Fortunately we’re not in a hurry to get anywhere.

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