Monday, 26 May 2014

Newcastle Morning Herald

This is just one of a series of old newspaper articles looking at the inland waterways and the things that were effecting the inland waterways. The most active periods for evaluation and change was always just prior to the two world wars. Between the wars the ownership of the canals changed hands and the railway companies bought up the canals to get rid of competition. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all, is the problems that beset the canals are still prevalent today.  Reading old newspapers can throw up some interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Newcastle Morning Herald
12th May 1916

In Great Britain, says "Engineering" navigable inland waterways are 4,075 miles in length, only 1,482 of which are natural rivers; In France 4,392 miles are natural out of 7,038; in Germany, 5,815 miles are natural out of 7,038; in Austria 2,427 miles are natural out of 2,772; and in Russia 23,211 miles are natural out of 23,614. Our lack of level country and shortage of big natural rivers, the necessity for nearly the whole of our inland waterways to be artificial, and the abnormal number of locks needed, involving constant pumping of water up to the top levels, are conditions that combine to make economical canalisation a physical impossibility in this country. 

Our only really efficient barge canal system is that of the Aire and Calder navigatlon, and it owes its success mainly to the existence of tide water from Hull to Goole, and to an unusually level bit of country between Goole and Castleford. It is quite true that the canal connecting the Marne with the Rhine has 177 locks in 193 miles, and the southern section of the Canal de l'Est has 99 locks in 91 miles; but those are exceptions on the Continent, whereas such conditions are general in this country.

For Instance, there are only three locks between Berlin and Hamburg, a distance of 230 miles. Between London and Liverpool we have more than 200 locks for less. than 300 miles of canal. We do not deny that some of our canals are capable of improvement, but we do insist that the physical features of our country are such that the cheap and speedy canal transit obtained on the Continent is not possible with us. and that it is to an improvement and general development of the railways that we must look for a solution of our cost-of-transit problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.