Boat lift

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A boat lift, ship lift, or lift lock is a machine for transporting boats between water at two different elevations, and is an alternative to the canal lock.

It may be vertically moving, like the Anderton boat lift in England, rotational, like the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, or operate on an inclined plane, like the Ronquières inclined plane in Belgium.

History[edit]

A precursor to the canal boat lift, able to move full-sized canal boats, was the tub boat lift used in mining, able to raise and lower the 2.5 ton tub boats then in use. An experimental system was in use on the Churprinz mining canal in Halsbrücke near Dresden. It lifted boats 7 m (23 ft) using a moveable hoist rather than caissons. The lift operated between 1789 and 1868,[1] and for a period of time after its opening engineer James Green reporting that five had been built between 1796 and 1830. He credited the invention to Dr James Anderson of Edinburgh.[2]

The idea of a boat lift for canals can be traced back to a design based on balanced water-filled caissons in Erasmus Darwin's Commonplace Book (page 58-59) dated 1777–1778[3]

In 1796 an experimental balance lock was designed by James Fussell and constructed at Mells on the Dorset and Somerset Canal, though this project was never completed.[2] A similar design was used for lifts on the tub boat section of the Grand Western Canal entered into operation in 1835 becoming the first non-experimental boat lifts in Britain[4] and pre-dating the Anderton Boat Lift by 40 years.

In 1904 the Peterborough Lift Lock designed by Richard Birdsall Rogers opened in Canada. This 19.8-metre (65 ft) high lift system is operated by gravity alone, with the upper bay of the two bay system loaded with an additional 30 cm (12 in) of water as to give it greater weight.

Before the construction of the Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift, the highest boat lift, with a 73.15-metre (240.0 ft) height difference and European Class IV (1350 tonne) capacity, was the Strépy-Thieu boat lift in Belgium opened in 2002.

The ship lift at the Three Gorges Dam, completed in January 2016, is 113 m (371 ft) high and able to lift vessels of up to 3,000 tons displacement.

The boat lift at Longtan is reported to be even higher in total with a maximum vertical lift of 179 m (587 ft) in two stages when completed.[5]

Selected lift locks[edit]

Notable lift locks — ordered by size
Name Location Opened Type Displacement Dimensions Vertical lift Cycle time Notes
Three Gorges Dam ship lift Yichang, Hubei, China 2016 3000 tons 280 by 35 by 5 metres
919 by 115 by 16 feet
113 metres
371 feet
30–40 minutes Tallest boat lift in the world.
Krasnoyarsk Dam ship lift Divnogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia 1982 1500 tons 90 m × 18 m × 2.2 m
295 ft × 59 ft × 7 ft
104 m
341 ft
90 minutes
Ronquières inclined plane lift Braine-le-Comte, Hainaut, Belgium 1968 Inclined plane 1350 tons 91 m × 12 m × 3.7 m
299 ft × 39 ft × 12 ft
67.73 m
222 ft
22 minutes[6]
Strépy-Thieu boat lift Le Rœulx, Hainaut, Belgium 2002 Vertical caisson 1350 tons 112 m × 12 m × 3.35 m
367 ft × 39 ft × 11 ft
73.15 m
240 ft
7 minutes Tallest boat lift in Europe.
Scharnebeck twin ship lift Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany 1974 Vertical caisson 1350 tons 105.4 m × 15.8 m × 3.4 m
346 ft × 52 ft × 11 ft
38 m
125 ft
3 minutes
Niederfinow boat lift Brandenburg, Germany 1934 Vertical caisson 85 m × 12 m × 2.5 m
279 ft × 39 ft × 8 ft
36 m
118 ft
20 minutes
Peterborough lift lock Ontario, Canada 1904 Vertical caisson 1300 tons 42.7 m × 10.1 m × 2.1 m
140 ft × 33 ft × 7 ft
19.8 m
65 ft
10 minutes
Kirkfield Lift Lock Ontario, Canada 1907 Vertical caisson 1300 tons 42.7 m × 10.1 m × 2.1 m
140 ft × 33 ft × 7 ft
14.9 m
49 ft
10 minutes
Rothensee boat lift Saxony-Anhalt, Germany 1938 Vertical caisson 1000 tons 85 m × 12.2 m
279 ft × 40 ft
16 m
52 ft
20 minutes
Falkirk Wheel Falkirk, Scotland, United Kingdom 2002 Rotating caisson 600 tons 21.33 m × 6 m × 1.37 m
70 ft × 20 ft × 4 ft
24 m
79 fts
4 minutes The only rotating boat lift in the world.
Henrichenburg boat lift North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 1962 Vertical caisson 600 tons 67 m × 8.2 m × 2 m
220 ft × 27 ft × 7 ft
14 m
46 ft
25 minutes
Danjiangkou Dam Hubei, China 1973 450 tons
Geheyan Dam ship lift Hubei, China 1987 300 tons
Longtan Dam ship lift Hechi, Guangxi Autonmous Region, China 2009 250 tons 40 m × 10.8 m × 1.8 m
131 ft × 35 ft × 6 ft
68.5 m
225 ft
Claimed to be the "fastest ship-lift in the world".[by whom?]
Canal du Centre boat lifts Hainaut, Belgium 1888–1917 Vertical caisson 360 tons/350 tons 40.1 m × 5.06 m × 2 m
132 ft × 17 ft × 7 ft
16.93–15.4 m
56–51 ft
Three lifts each 16.93 m high plus one 15.4 m high.
Fontinettes boat lift Arques, Pas-de-Calais, France 1881–88 Vertical caisson 300 tons 39 m × 5.2 m × 2 m
128 ft × 17 ft × 7 ft
13.13 m
43 ft
5 minutes Replaced by a single lock in 1967.
Anderton boat lift Cheshire, England, United Kingdom 1875 Vertical caisson 250 tons 22.9 m × 4.7 m × 2.9 m
75 ft × 15 ft × 10 ft
15.25 m
50 ft
Montech water slope Montech, Tarn-et-Garonne, France 1974 Water slope 443 m × 13.3 m × 6 m
1,453 ft × 44 ft × 20 ft
13.3 m
44 ft
6 minutes Oldest water slope.
Fonserannes Water Slope Hérault, France 1980–83 Water slope 272 m × 13.6 m
892 ft × 45 ft
13.6 m
45 ft
Big Chute Marine Railway Ontario, Canada 1917–78 Patent slip 30.4 m × 18 m × 7.9 m
100 ft × 59 ft × 26 ft
18 m
59 ft

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Hadfield World Canals: Inland Navigation Past and Present Page 71 ISBN 0-7153-8555-0
  2. ^ a b The Canals of Southwest England Charles Hadfield Page 104 ISBN 0-7153-8645-X
  3. ^ "revolutionaryplayers.org.uk". Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  4. ^ The Canals of Southwest England Charles Hadfield Page 109 ISBN 0-7153-8645-X
  5. ^ "Long Tan Hydroelectric Dam". 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-20.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "The inclined plane of Ronquières". Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tew, David (1984). Canal Inclines and Lifts. Sutton Books. ISBN 0-86299-031-9.
  • Uhlemann, Hans-Joachim (2002). Canal lifts and inclines of the world (English Translation ed.). Internat. ISBN 0-9543181-1-0.

External links[edit]