Friday, 20 January 2012

Freight on the canals

Yet another newspaper article advocating the bringing back freight onto the canals. I have to wonder if these people have the slightest idea what state the canals are in? Have they asked how commercial traffic and ‘pleasure’ traffic will interact. What would happen when a motor and butty turn up at Dashwood’s Lock behind a queue of private and hire boats on a Friday afternoon. Private boaters kicking their heels while yard staff are showing newbie hirers through the lock. I have followed so called working boats through lock flights and often they don’t close gates when leaving a lock. Hire boaters wouldn’t be troubled by this but many Private boaters would.

Will commercial boats be required to keep to the set conventions of speed rules or will they take it that they are ‘working boats’ and the rules don’t apply to them? After all they will be on the clock.

How is it ever going to be cost effective to move freight by boat. We all love boating and would pay to take a boat out, but if you were doing it 5 days a week you would need to be paid, I can’t see anyone doing it for less than £50 a day that’s £250 a week. Why pay a boater £250 to take a load from Oxford to Rugby, for instance. when a truck driver can do it for 30 quid  (two hours driving). If, as the article suggests, bio fuels are too be transported to power stations the extra cost will be loaded on to consumer bills. Fortunately power stations are on big waterways

Are working boaters going to be happy to moor up in the sticks in preference to mooring on a honey pot visitors mooring outside a pub, I doubt it.

The big river/canals like the Aire & Calder are still taking freight, but they are big waterways and carry 650 ton boats. They were built for this. The Manchester ship canal the same, bigger water, bigger boats.

Mind you as a starting point I suppose they could strip a lot of trees off the canals that are most likely to fall, but the narrow canals would need the bottom dropped a couple of feet to accommodate proper working boats not to mention the water supply needs some serious attention

I am sure the CBOA would love to see working boats on the water again, but is it really going to happen? I very much doubt it, but hey never say never as they say. I would take a cargo boat out.

1 comment:

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

Great post. It has been discussed on may occasion and no matter how romantic it looks it will not work. Can you honestly see a lorry driver giving up his heated, air conditioned lorry cab for the stern of a narrow boat hahahaha. The day of the real working boat is long gone, when they were the kings of the waterways. These days there is to much pleasure traffic for it to work.
But I bet someone will disagree with us both LOL.