Effin Bridge, the railway lift-bridge over the Royal Canal on the seaward side of Newcomen Bridge in Dublin, has caused some little annoyance to boating folk. It is raised on a small number of days each year to allow boats through; many staff must attend and Waterways Ireland must pay Iarnród Éireann, the railway company, for each lift, as well as paying its own staff for attending.
Perhaps a more modest structure might work. Something like this.
Description of a new Lift Bridge for the Midland Great Western Railway, over the Royal Canal at Newcomen Bridge, Dublin. By Bindon B Stoney, MA, MInstCE
This bridge carries a short branch of the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland across the Royal Canal immediately below Newcomen Bridge, at the very oblique angle of 25 degrees and, though the canal is only 15 feet wide, the bridge carrying the railway requires to be nearly 40 feet long on the skew.
The trains run over this bridge at about two feet above ordinary water level, and whenever a boat is passing along the canal the bridge is lifted from 8 to 13 feet, according to the height of the deck load, so as to permit the boat to pass beneath. The bridge is formed of two strong single-plate girders of the usual type, which lie underneath the rails, with cross girders and side brackets over which the platform is laid. This bridge is lifted by means of a lever 40 feet long, formed of two plate girders braced together horizontally, and attached rigidly at right angles to the centre of the bridge, and this lever is itself balanced at its centre on blunt steel knife edges like the beam of a pair of scales. The weight of the bridge at one end of the lever is counterpoised by an equal weight of metal attached to the other end, so that the whole structure turns freely on the knife edges, which work in steel pillow blocks on the top of metal standards, one on either side of the lever. The opening and closing motions are regulated by a small crab-winch and chain worked by hand; the ends of this chain are attached to the lever at several feet on either side of the knife edges, and its centre is wound on or off from the barrel of the winch, which is itself bolted down to a mass of concrete extending beneath the metal standards.
The man in charge works this arrangement with the greatest ease, and it is so regulated that the bridge is opened or closed in about one minute. It might be moved much faster than this, as the friction is reduced to a mere trifle by the knife edges, but it is not convenient to put so large a mass in rapid motion when there is nothing to be gained by so doing. It was essential that the bridge should be erected speedily and so as to interrupt the traffic as little as possible, and the first engine passed over it in about twelve weeks after the contractors, Messrs Courtney, Stephens and Bailey, of Dublin, got instructions to proceed with the work and the traffic was interrupted for only about one week during erection. The lever sloping upwards has a somewhat singular appearance when the bridge is in position for trains to pass over and, on the other hand, the bridge itself has a singular effect when it is tilted up into the air for canal boats to pass beneath; but the author has successfully obtained what he aimed at — namely, simplicity of design, strength, ease of working, little aptitude to go out of order and last, but not least, very moderate cost.
Report of the Forty-eighth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; held at Dublin in August 1878 John Murray, London 1879
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Operations, People, Rail, Restoration and rebuilding, Safety, Sea, Sources, The cattle trade, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged barge, Bindon Blood Stoney, boats, bridge, canal, Dublin, Effin Bridge, estuary, Ireland, lifting bridge, lock, Newcomen Bridge, Operations, Royal Canal
Three important documents [all PDFs] available for download from WI’s site:
- Action Plan for Grand Canal Dock and Spencer Dock here
- Grand Canal (rural) Product Development Study here
- Royal Canal (rural) Product Development Study here.
These are lengthy documents [50, 177 and 175 pages respectively] and it will be some time before I can comment on them, but I welcome their publication. I also hope to be able to comment on the presentation Ireland’s Inland Waterways – Building a Tourism Destination which WI made to the recent meeting of the NSMC; I’m told it’s on its way to me but it hasn’t arrived yet.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Drainage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Irish waterways general, Natural heritage, Operations, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Scenery, Sources, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged barge, boats, bridge, canal, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Dublin, Grand Canal, Grand Canal Dock, Ireland, lock, Operations, quay, Ringsend, Royal Canal, Spencer Dock, vessels, waterways, Waterways Ireland
I pointed out some time ago that, in the Dáil on 16 October 2013, Jimmy Deenihan said:
The [budgetary] provision will enable Waterways Ireland to deliver on its core activities and targets, which include keeping the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season and promoting increased use of the waterways resource for recreational purposes.
That was the first time I noticed the suggestion that, in effect, boating in winter might be de-emphasised, as it were; the idea is followed up in the current draft of the Waterways Ireland Corporate Plan 2014–6. The proposal receives some support from the figures for Shannon traffic in the first three months of 2014.
I realise that, as the numbers are small, they can be affected by the high water levels, bad weather or the date of Easter, but those for 2014 are remarkably low. The totals for the first three months [Jan–Mar] since 2003 are:
All the usual caveats apply, notably that the figures do not capture boating that is confined to the lakes. Still, the 2014 figure is less than half the next lowest, and it’s the first time since 2003 that the figure has been below 500, 400 or 300.
Posted in Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Operations, Shannon, Sources, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged barge, boats, bridge, canal, Easter, Ireland, lock, Lough Derg, Operations, Shannon, traffic, water level, waterways, Waterways Ireland, weather
An update here and, from across the water, here.
Posted in Drainage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Ireland, Operations, People, Politics, Sea, Shannon, shannon estuary, Sources, The fishing trade, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged eels, ESB, estuary, inland fisheries ireland, Ireland, Shannon
I thought it would be interesting to ask the British Newspaper Archive what people were reading about in newspapers published in Dublin between 1 January 1845 and 31 December 1850. The BNA has scans of two Dublin newspapers for that period, the Freeman’s Journal and the Dublin Evening Mail. I used the archive to search for four different words in those newspapers in that period; I then counted the numbers of results.
On the first round, I included ads and family notices.
Terms in Dublin newspapers (incl ads) 1845–1850
I guessed that the numbers for steam and railway might be exaggerated by their inclusion in ads so, on the second round, I excluded both ads and family notices. The result was as expected.
Terms in Dublin newspapers (excl ads) 1845–1850
I then asked Google’s Ngram machine to count the numbers of occurrences of four pairs of words between 1845 and 1850. I asked it to do a case-insentitive search, but it can’t do that for “compositions” (combinations of words), so it counted:
Here is what it came up with, but whence I know not, other than that it searched the corpus English. The embedding process doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ve left the code here but also cut and pasted the output.
I suspect that, in recent times, the amount written about steam and railways of the period 1845–1850 in Ireland has been rather less than that about potatoes and the famine.
Posted in Extant waterways, Operations, Irish inland waterways vessels, Steamers, Industrial heritage, Sources, Economic activities, Rail, Charles Wye Williams, People, Built heritage, Engineering and construction, Foreign parts, Ireland, waterways, Shannon, Sea, Canals
Tagged Killaloe, Operations, Ireland, waterways, Shannon, canal, Limerick, boats, Waterways Ireland, Royal Canal, railway, steam, steamer, bridge, Lough Derg, Dublin, famine, sea, potato
I take it all back: I’ll never say another rude word about art gallery folk.
Well, not many, anyway.
The splendid folk at the National Gallery of Ireland have an online searchable archive that allows you to look at pics, download small watermarked versions and buy larger versions if you would like to do so. And “searchable” doesn’t just mean searchable by artist or type of paint or whatever it is: you can put in important terms like “steamer” and “shannon” and “canal”.
Admittedly you don’t get much back: two steamers, none of interest on this site, nothing about the Shannon and twelve canal scenes, only two of which are in Ireland. One of them, though, is very interesting indeed, and you can see it if you use
as your search term.
You should get an 1809 pic by one John Henry Campbell entitled “Ringsend and Irishtown from the Grand Canal, Dublin”, showing three wooden canal-boats, not particularly well moored, with their crews settling in (it appears) for the evening with fires lit and some with shelters rigged.
I can’t work out where they are, though. To get Ringsend lined up with Howth in quite that way, you’d have to be pretty close to the Grand Canal Docks, I’d have thought. Any guesses or deductions?
Posted in Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, People, Sea, Sources, waterways
Tagged barge, boats, bridge, canal, Dublin, Grand Canal, Grand Canal Docks, howth, Ireland, Irishtown, National Gallery, Poolbeg, Ringsend, waterways