New Rochdale Canal Lock 53 – Castleton, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 35.013 W 002° 10.615
30U E 554489 N 5937504
Quick Description: The Rochdale canal is 32 miles long and connects Manchester on the west side of the Pennine Hills and Sowerby Bridge on the east side.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/11/2014 2:05:00 PM
Waymark Code: WMK4HV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 1

Long Description:

The Canal History
The Rochdale Canal was completed in 1804 and is one of three canals that cross the Pennine hills. This is the only one that doesn’t use tunnels. In addition it was a broad canal with bridges and locks that allowed boats of 14 feet width to pass through.

The one downside of not using tunnels is that it originally had 92 locks. These days two of them have been combined into one deep lock.

Competition from railways and roads subsequently led to a decline in goods being carried and by 1937 the only section left in operation was at the Manchester end of the canal.

In 1965 there was talk of abandoning the canal but by this time leisure boating had become very popular in the UK and there was a campaign to keep it open. Work was started and the canal slowly re-opened in a number of different stages. The whole length finally reopened in September 2007.

Details of this lock
This lock is also known as Blue Pits New Lock. It is the lowest of a series of locks named after a nearby quarry that used to produce a type of blue clay.

It was built in 2002 during restoration work of this section of the canal. In the late 1960s when the canal was not being used the M62 motorway was built nearby and cut the canal in two. When restoration work on the canal started a way had to be found to get the canal under the motorway.

Near to this point there was a farm road that passed through a tunnel under the motorway. The solution to the problem was to divert the canal to use the road tunnel. This new lock 53 was then built and the old lock 53 on the far side of the the motorway left open at the other end of the diversion. Being a modern lock, the chamber was made from concrete rather than large blocks of stone.

At the same time a new access road bridge was built across the tail of the lock chamber. Bridges are often built over locks where the canal is at its narrowest, making the bridge cheaper and easier to build.

This bridge was also constructed from concrete and then clad with stone. However it has suffered damage of some sort and part of the cladding has come away and although the bridge is still usable is in need of repair.

This website shows the various stages of doing the restoration and construction work.

On many locks there are warning signs about making sure the boat does not get caught on the cill.

It's not always obvious what this means, but basically the wooden lock gate does not go to the bottom of the lock but sits on a stone base. When the lock is full and a boat is going down, the cill is not visible. This means that when the water is released from the lock it is possible for the boat to get caught on the cill.

This lock was at its lowest when I took the pictures and the cill is clearly visible. When the cill is visible it's much easier to understand the hidden danger.
Waterway Name: The Rochdale Canal

Connected Points:
The city of Manchester on the western side of the Pennine hills and the town of Sowerby Bridge on the east.

Type: Lock

Date Opened: 7/4/2002

Elevation Difference (meters): 2.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

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