08:00 Wednesday 21 November 2012

Village goes on lock down for a rare glimpse of canal

Written byROB SMYTH

MORE than 150 people visited Fradley Junction Lock to get a never-before-seen look at areas which are normally submerged underwater.

Fradley Junction Lock
Fradley Junction Lock

As part of its first annual waterway stoppage programme, the Canal and River Trust held a public viewing event which allowed people to get a glimpse of the essential maintenance works taking place at Fradley Junction on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Visitors had the opportunity to go down into the chamber of the lock and see repairs to the brickwork and gate relining work being carried out.

As the lock chamber was drained of water, there was also an opportunity to see the lock’s paddle hole and mechanics that are usually submerged.

Terry Drake, customer services supervisor, said: “Thank you to everyone who came along to visit on a cold Saturday.

“It’s very rewarding to spend time speaking with the public about the essential works that we do on our waterways.

“Visitors commented on how interesting it was to see what goes on below the water line and many were amazed that our network, built more than 200 years ago, is still operational today thanks to the hard work the trust does to maintain it.

“We had some fantastic volunteers there on Saturday speaking to visitors and had lots of positive comments about their involvement.

“We’re always looking for more volunteers so if people would like more information, please get in touch.” Over a three week period, the lock gates at Fradley Junction are being re-lined with timber and refitted.

This last week of the maintenance work will see engineers continue to repair the brickwork with lime mortar; traditional methods are used to ensure the work is carried out in keeping with the heritage of the canal network.

Friday should see the end of the stoppage, the dams lifted and the lock chamber filled with water to resume its normal role.

Vince Moran, the trust’s operations director, said: “We hope that by showcasing the repair works this winter, we can give people a chance to see the scale of the work we do to ensure that the waterways are preserved for today’s visitors and future generations.”

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