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Canals - is a comeback coming?


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Canals-leisure.jpg

Prompted by this article.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-...ays-889754.html

 

Britain's waterways are on the brink of an astonishing revival – and some of the UK's biggest trucking firms are leading the way. The UK's long-neglected latticework of canals and rivers, which once helped to jump-start the industrial revolution, are poised for a renaissance.

 

 

Growing traffic jams, rising fuel prices and environmental pressures are driving the boom, according to industry experts, to such an extent that many shipping and barge companies say they have received more inquiries about transporting goods by water in the past 18 months than they have had in 20 years. Some companies that have traditionally used roads are now appointing managers to mastermind their expansion on to water.

 

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LINKS:

History of Britain's canals : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_th...sh_canal_system

Canal maps, Britain........ : http://www.canals.com/maps.htm

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...they have received more inquiries about transporting goods by water in the past 18 months

than they have had in 20 years...

 

Makes sense. In a time of rising oil prices, and slow travel by road,

the less cluttered canals can provide a cheaper and efficient alternative.

 

They were built as commercial arteries, and so connect some important places with

important places.

 

It is good they were maintained, though it meant turning them over for leisure purposes.

Now emerging will be a battkle between leisure and commercial interests.

 

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I think the canals were largely superseded by railways in the late 19th century.

 

However, they (and rivers and the sea) may prove useful if the railway capacity is inadequate or diesel fuelled (as opposed to electric).

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"British Waterways regards itself primarily as a "heritage and leisure organisation", and critics say it fails to give sufficient priority to freight. Vital wharves are being sold for waterfront development schemes, according to transport experts. In central Leeds, aggregates firm Lafarge's lease on a wharf on the Aire & Calder canal was not renewed as the land had been marked for development. The firm was forced to build a new wharf outside the city, transporting its sand and gravel into Leeds by lorry.

 

So many of London's wharves were sold off to developers that those that remain have protected status. In February 2007, the parliamentary transport select committee said that wharf protection should be extended to the rest of the country. The Government has yet to respond."

==

 

(I saw this coming years ago. The girlfriend and I used to enjoy walking along canals on weekends.

We did this to see what was left from history, and what might still be restored. We took a wonderful week-long canal holiday in Wales, and walked through the old canal arteries of the East End.

For a long time, i wanted to live on a canal, and watch it come back to life. We looked at many developments, but decided they were all overpriced. And owning a canal boat, without a mooring for it makes no sense at all.)

 

==

 

British Waterways denies the allegations and points to its development of the Prescott Lock in east London, which will enable boats to access the Bow Back river to reach the 2012 Olympics site. It estimates it will save as many as 1,000 lorry journeys on local roads each week. Critics claim planning was poor and all the major excavation work on the Olympics site was completed and rubble removed by road before it came into operation"

 

(Of course, British Waterways did not want to miss out on the easy money to be made from putting its "spare" land up from development. With the boom of the last 14 years, they probably went a bit overboard in cashing these profits. Sadly, such waterfront developments tend to seal up the canal, and make it difficult to use for commercial developments.)

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I think the canals were largely superseded by railways in the late 19th century.

 

However, they (and rivers and the sea) may prove useful if the railway capacity is inadequate or diesel fuelled (as opposed to electric).

 

Rail and Canals connect in many places. And there is potential to revive these as commercial hubs.

 

Go and walk the canals near Willesden sometime, and you will see some real potential

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Rali and Canals connect in many places. And there is potential to revive these as commercial hubs.

 

Go and walk the canals near Willesden sometime, and you will see some real potential

 

The big hurdle to get over is the problem that canals were never designed to take standard containers. The average 40ft narrow boat has a displacement of around 4 to 5 tons and the big 72ft boats 8 to 9 tons. You would need bigger boats and therefore bigger canals, like those in Europe. The canals might be able to take a proportion of the light haulage but it would be quite low in comparison to that of road.

 

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The big hurdle to get over is the problem that canals were never designed to take standard containers. The average 40ft narrow boat has a displacement of around 4 to 5 tons and the big 72ft boats 8 to 9 tons. You would need bigger boats and therefore bigger canals, like those in Europe. The canals might be able to take a proportion of the light haulage but it would be quite low in comparison to that of road.

 

A good point.

A possible solution, is to split the standard TEU container in half, lengthwise down the middle.

And use that as a load size

 

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Fred Speaks

========

This is quite a good interview, where FH is asked about the CAUSES of the cycle.

Harrison's interview on Radio New Zealand:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/nt...rash_prediction

 

He predicts a Property CRASH "at the end of 2008/ early 2009"

and also:

Talks a bit about how Canals, and later Railways triggered property speculation.

 

Meantime, there's talk by some (like Stiglitz ) that talk about:

"We need investment in public infrastructure, in transportation, in green technologies. We should be adapting to the new realities we have to face.'

 

== ==

 

His idea (TAXING LAND & Rentals gains) could be a very good idea, if the UK and US governments

will be investing huge sums in infrastructure. they should tax the property owners that benefit

from those gains.

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Part of the Leeds - Liverpool canal runs close to home. There was a branch of the canal that ran to a nearby industrial estate. There used to be mills and a quarry there 150 years ago. The industrial estate branch was filled in and a road built over it some time ago, it would be fantastic in my opinion if it was to be re opened in the future.

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A good point.

A possible solution, is to split the standard TEU container in half, lengthwise down the middle.

And use that as a load size

 

The problem there is that 1/2 of a 40ft container could contain just over 18 ton which is more than the 72ft narrow boat could carry. The boats displacement cannot be made any greater as due to the size of the tunnels on the network and the bends that the boats have to navigate. I would love to see it happen but the canals would have to be widened and deepened to allow for larger boats.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canals_of_Great_Britain

 

I think it's likely as fuel becomes more and more expensive the narrowboat which can be pulled by a horse may again become viable.

 

Reminds me of a Saudi saying which goes something like:-

 

 

I fly in a Jet, my father drove a car, my grandfather rode a camel.

 

My son will drive a car and my grandson he will ride a camel.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canals_of_Great_Britain

 

I think it's likely as fuel becomes more and more expensive the narrowboat which can be pulled by a horse may again become viable.

 

Reminds me of a Saudi saying which goes something like:-

 

 

I fly in a Jet, my father drove a car, my grandfather rode a camel.

 

My son will drive a car and my grandson he will ride a camel.

 

To get back to needing horse drawn transport the population of the UK will need to fall off a cliff. We still have reversion to the modern steam engine on renewable fuels before that stage, although I would still think that the UK population would have to shrink dramatically to sustain itself at that level as all of the arable would be under farming for both fuel and food.

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To get back to needing horse drawn transport the population of the UK will need to fall off a cliff. We still have reversion to the modern steam engine on renewable fuels before that stage, although I would still think that the UK population would have to shrink dramatically to sustain itself at that level as all of the arable would be under farming for both fuel and food.

 

The point is it's a infastructure that's there.

 

Britain by industializing early built it before the railways and it is an incredibly energy efficient way to move things.

 

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To get back to needing horse drawn transport the population of the UK will need to fall off a cliff.

 

Other problems with horses: Feeding them, "housing" them.

Can people be persuaded to move out of their mews homes, to make room for horses again?

 

olympics08_soccer.gif

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The point is it's a infastructure that's there.

 

Britain by industializing early built it before the railways and it is an incredibly energy efficient way to move things.

 

Maybe the Leeds Liverpool link could be revitalised, but try going to the rural areas. Where i live a canal was reopened a few years back, but runs into a dock at one end and an embankment at the other after around 5 miles. Point being, it got neglected closed off and built over, so can only be partially opened. Just another leisure attraction really.

 

Which means due to costs lots of arteries will never get reopened. Shame really and kills of any true revival.

 

 

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Makes sense. In a time of rising oil prices, and slow travel by road,

the less cluttered canals can provide a cheaper and efficient alternative.

 

They were built as commercial arteries, and so connect some important places with

important places.

 

It is good they were maintained, though it meant turning them over for leisure purposes.

Now emerging will be a battkle between leisure and commercial interests.

If the economic imperative was sufficient, the government would adopt compulsory purchase, same as they did with the motorways and oil pipeline/electricity infrastructure. People might be glad to take what they can get, if thereis a severe property bust and energy shortages stymy recovery (which I think will be the case)

 

Every dealing I have had with British Waterways indicates that it is a classic, complacent, incompetent British bureaucracy. Probably it would have to be broken up and sold to more vigorous companies to get things really moving.

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I have great confidence in the ability of humans to adapt. Things become different but not necessarily worse.

 

I think one day people may look back at all the noise, pollution and eyesores of millions of cars parked everywhere driving children inside off the streets with horror.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bradford/7562609.stm

Nice to see a real industrial-scale example. It seems waterways will be increasingly important.

 

There's a recent canal thread under Living Arrangements: Property & Peak Oil:

http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index....7&hl=canals

 

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looked at buying a canal boat to live on last year but decided it was too expensive, boat prices like property were crazy, seemed to be a £1000 a foot, been lookin again just recently and now 50 footers can be easily had for about 35K, i reckon as home owners struggle boats will get cheaper and cheaper as this pleasent but expensive hobby becomes less popular, maybe one day not too far away ill have one

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looked at buying a canal boat to live on last year but decided it was too expensive, boat prices like property were crazy, seemed to be a £1000 a foot, been lookin again just recently and now 50 footers can be easily had for about 35K, i reckon as home owners struggle boats will get cheaper and cheaper as this pleasent but expensive hobby becomes less popular, maybe one day not too far away ill have one

 

Yes, I think canalboat prices are crashing, sliding even faster than property.

 

But moorings are the thing to watch. A canal boat without a mooring is like owning an aircraft without a place to land it.

 

And like Land prices, mooring prices have built in gearing

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Along with the problem/costs of moorings, always bear in mind the amount of up-keep and maintenance generally involved with canal-boats... (An expensive hobby - as was said.) I doubt these costs will be getting cheaper and what you can save through DIYing is limited - unless you've got a crane and dock handy! Shame - I was interested in becoming a 'live aboard' for a while but, after investigating, it didn't seem to make sense for me. Would very much like to see canals revitalised as a transport system though...

 

In case anyone missed this link in the other canals thread, there's an article from Ireland's Sustainability Journal on water transport available to read over here: http://www.sustainability.ie/watertransport.pdf. There's more in the latest journal too...

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Yes, I think canalboat prices are crashing, sliding even faster than property.

 

But moorings are the thing to watch. A canal boat without a mooring is like owning an aircraft without a place to land it.

 

And like Land prices, mooring prices have built in gearing

 

Heard about this place, because a friend of mine was involved in the project. Put this up as an example of demand for moorings, it's only been open a year and is quite an attraction but few places are left to moor.

 

The thing that strikes me though moving on is that it's more looking to cater for leisure purposes, weddings etc rather than be a useful transport link or regenerate the trent and mersey. Yet it's out of town in the countryside (err forward planning :unsure: ). Which brings me to my concern on canals, i've got many around me that have been re-opened for leisure purposes, but that's the limit as they have rotted and been built over, so even those re-opened seem to only serve as a retail/leisure attraction and chances of a meaningful commercial transport route are remote.

 

But it's not a bad place for a sunday afternoon trip i hear, particularly if you are a angler!

 

http://www.bartonmarina.co.uk/p6_0_0.htm

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I have great confidence in the ability of humans to adapt. Things become different but not necessarily worse.

 

I think one day people may look back at all the noise, pollution and eyesores of millions of cars parked everywhere driving children inside off the streets with horror.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bradford/7562609.stm

 

Truly brilliant, but it will take a gigantuan effort to replace what has been lost in some area's and i'm not sure how willing or able this nation is of reinventing itself with canals.

 

Keep lamenting the wastage, because i see it everyday and it makes me :angry:

 

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Truly brilliant, but it will take a gigantuan effort to replace what has been lost in some area's and i'm not sure how willing or able this nation is of reinventing itself with canals.

Keep lamenting the wastage, because i see it everyday and it makes me :angry:

 

In a similar mood, JHK drives past a canal, and cannot see an immanent regeneration:

 

"North of the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson was the old town of Waterford, where the Erie Canal began its journey west -- bypassing those powerful waterfalls. The locks are still there and still in operation for the infrequent tanker ships and ore barges that come and go to the Great Lakes. But the operation of the canal system is automated to the extent that it requires only a handful of people to run the locks now, and the town around them has deteriorated into slum and semi-slum garnished with a few convenience stores and pizza shops. There is no other commerce there. No matter how poor, the denizens are required to drive a car to a giant chain store for groceries or hardware or clothing.

 

As you leave Waterford, the river road becomes a suburban corridor of 1960s-vintage ranch houses and stand-alone small retail business buildings which, if used at all now, are mostly hair salons, chiropractic studios, and other services not generally rendered by the chain stores. All this stuff was deployed along the road with the expectation that Americans would be driving cars cheaply forever. Now that this is distinctly no longer the case, corridors like this are entering their death throes. The awfulness of the design and construction of these buildings is now especially vivid as the plywood de-laminates, and the vinyl soffits fall off, and the dinge of neglect forms a patina over it all. Hopelessness infects this landscape like a miasma. Whatever young adults remain in these places are not thinking about a plausible future, only looking to complete their full array of tattoos and lose themselves in raptures of sex, methedrine, and video aggression."

 

## http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/clu...e-becoming.html

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Spent most of my youth holidaying on canal boats thanks to my dad's enthusiasm, and I wouldn't change it - great leisure activity, nothing quite as relaxing, and far more interesting than lying around on a beach.

 

As for any serious percentage of the existing waterways being of much industrial use these days, non-starter if you ask me (certainly for a lot of the bits I've floated on anyway), and it would seriously damage a wonderful leisure resource. Thats a generalisation, the canal network is hugely varied. I think the point made about capacity/container sizes, similar to the problem with the out-of-touch rail network is the killer. I do think the idea of a general increase in use would be a great thing (lorries = yuk no two ways about it), but who could advocate building new canal network over rail? Not me, except maybe in particular cases, and I'd prefer to keep my little pieces of undisturbed tranquil heaven thankyou very much! :P

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