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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Trip out.

Saturday 18th October.

Before leaving our Castleford mooring we filled up with water after just hauling the boat ahead a little.
Just outside the town was this coal tipper for barges. It has either been used in the not too distant past or is being preserved as I haven't seen one in such good condition before.


Coal tipper just outside Castleford on the Aire and Calder Canal.

The canal is dead straight between Castleford and Bulholme Lock and there was a little activity with one boat coming up and one just leaving the water point there. There girls were soon ashore and pressing the buttons to pen us down on to the River Aire. The lock cottages were relatively new bungalows and they were built on stilts. I assume due to flooding of the river. On the outside lock wall there were stone cut depth marks that went up to 19 feet!


This is the life, not a windlass in sight and hands in pockets for lock wheeling. The box on the pedestal is the controls for the lock. Push button operation. The steel arm behind Amy is actually one of the actuators that lifts/shuts the ground paddles. It is done in stages so as not to cause too much turbulence in the locks.


A Heron in a tree near to Old Wheldale Colliery Basin on the River Aire. I know that Herons live in Heronries but I can't recall having seen a Heron not either ion the ground or wading in the water

The passage down the River Aire was very pleasant with the trees hiding what had been colliery waste and industry not that many years before. Basins for loading of barges were still evident at Weldale and Fryston Colliery sites. I think these could be made into quite nice moorings despite being on the river and with no village of pub close by.


The sun shining as we pass down Pilkington Rack, just after Soap Suds Corner between the two disused colliery basins.




The barge discharging terminal where coal was taken from the canal to the power station at Ferrybridge.

There have been three power stations at Ferrybridge, the first opened in 1924 and the present one, 'C', opened in 1966, has four units to it, each generating 490MW of electricity. The first two have not been modified and so are only allowed to operate for 20,000 hours. This limit should run out in early 2014, but they must be closed anyway in 2015. The other two have been fitted with flue gas desulphurisation so can continue. Presently on the site a multifuel generating station is being built this will burn waste wood, biofuels and other waste products and make 68MW. It is costing £400m and should be operating in 2015. Another of these plants is in the development stage to deliver 90MW by 2018 if planning and other consents are granted. On the site has also been a very important carbon capture pilot scheme. Up until this project the largest pilot in the Uk was about 0.1MW set ups. Here they have been testing a 5MW system. Ironically the CO2 they recover from the flue gases of the power station are later released as it is not a sufficient size to make building pipelines or using tankers to transport the 100 tonnes of CO2 saved each day. The pilot is to evaluate everything on a much larger scale than in the past before  building a full scale scheme where the CO2 will be saved and stored. The initial evaluation is due to end this year. All in all there is a lot going on a Ferrybridge.


Waiting at Ferrybridge Flood lock with the A1 motorway bridge with the 18th Century bridge behind that carried the Great North Road over the River Aire. Behind them can be the twin chimneys of the Ferrybridge furnaces that are 198m high and some of the eight 115m high cooling towers that are the largest of their type in Europe.


Kellingley Colliery canal wharf where coal pans were loaded to be towed to the Ferrybridge power stations. These were 17 x 2.8 metres with a draft of 2.9m and with the pusher tug they were rigidly fixed together to make 59 metre long train carrying 170 tonnes. They will have saved a few lorry loads over the years.

Kellingley Colliery was started in 1960 as investigations had found that there were up to seven workable seams. This makes it one of the newest deep mines still working in the country. The first 200 metres of sub strata was waterlogged so in order to sink the two shafts the ground had to be frozen by brine pipes. The shaft was then concrete lined and cement grouted to make it almost watertight. The shafts were sunk down to about 800m. On of the shafts is for men and machinery/equipment and one for the removal of the coal. Once the brine was switched of the ground settled., This had been planned for and each leg of the winding gear had a system incorporated so that the wire ropes would be properly plumbed. The mine is currently working the Beeston Seam that they expect to be worked out in 2015. The next seam should be the Silkstone which should provide coal until 2019. About 900 tonnes a day is mined and mainly goes to Ferrybridge and other nearby power stations.

Interestingly on the land by the colliery a plan has been submitted for a power station to be built using only municipal waste. As part of this application a feasibility study was carried out regarding use of the canal to transport the waste to the site. It was felt that the standard 20 foot container size module would be used and this would carry about 13 tonnes. The vessel/barge used would carry a double tier of containers to a total on 32. If only 16 (1 high) it would not be economic. This would require a combined draft/airdraft of 5.8m and also the length and breadth of a comparative unit. This would mean 100,000 tonnes a year could be carried. The barge/boat could be discharged and loaded with empties in around four hours! If the source of the waste was less than 40km away road transport would be cheaper and over 120km away rail would be cheaper. It was felt that the optimum distance would be 80km (50 miles). This would mean that the size of the water ways and distances would limit the places of loading to Leeds, Wakefield, Rotherham, York, Goole, Scunthorpe, Hull and Humberside areas on the Humber. This all sounded very good but it seems that it would only be economical if the waste loading facility was by the waterway meaning that it only had to be handled twice, facility to boat, boat to power station, and not from road tansport  at any stage. Currently there are no waste facilities next to the required waterways!!!

We arrived at Eggborough Wharf around lunchtime and were quickly picked up to go to Selby where one of my brothers lived. We managed to watch the second half of the rugby union match where the Swans came back to win a very good game. That evening a gang of us went out to a local Chinese for a very good evening. We met the two New Zealand lodgers and the new puppy Maggie too.


Our mooring at Eggborough with Whitely Road Bridge.


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